When a trial is about to begin, it’s commonplace for prospective jurors to be called in and, in addition to completing a written questionnaire, be subjected to additional questioning to confirm that they are indeed fair and unbiased, according to the American Bar Association’s discussion of voir dire. Attorneys Scott L. Frost and Paul C. Cook recently issued a position paper in which they commented on the importance of examining jurors for bias against large verdicts during the voir dire process. The commentary appeared in the Asbestos publication published by HarrisMartin. You may read the publication here.
In justifying their argument, the commentary’s authors spelled out how California Code of Civil Procedure section 222.5 even protects lawyers’ rights to request this information. That statute specifically states how California judges shall grant parties requesting to make an opening statement during voir dire the right to do so.
Below, we’ll discuss why our mesothelioma law firm, which represents clients throughout the state of California, feels it is important to ensure this law remains in place and how it benefits our clients as they seek settlements in their asbestos-related disease cases.
Why California Attorneys Should Continue to Assess for Jurors’ Biases
In our report, we spell out how continuing to be allowed to perform a “liberal and probing examination” during the voir dire, as the above law describes, is critical to us being able to zealously advocate for our clients and protect their rights to the fullest extent possible. Our belief is that asking jurors about their opinions about the awarding of large verdicts in asbestos-related cases is often necessary to ensure that the jury empaneled will properly give clients like the California residents we represent fair and just compensation for their damages if the situation warrants it.
How Mesothelioma Clients Benefit from Lawyers Asking About Verdict Bias
We assert that due process allows all parties in a civil trial, both the plaintiff and defendants, to obtain a fair and impartial jury to hear and decide on a case. We’ve found that a jury comprised of individuals who believe that compensation is excessive in these cases tend to be reticent in making liability determinations necessary to ensure clients like ours receive a maximum settlement for the damages they’ve suffered.
Our firm’s attorneys aren’t alone in believing it’s imperative to continue supporting a plaintiff’s right to ask about prospective juror bias when building the panel that will hear the case. Other asbestos lawyers have similar concerns.
California law allows plaintiffs to demand whatever damages are appropriate for the losses they’ve suffered. As attorneys who have decades of experience in handling mesothelioma cases, we know all too well how damages can quickly mount for individuals with asbestos-related diseases. Receiving top-quality medical care to ensure a patient’s quality of life is the best it can be is quite costly. It’s critical for us to know going into a trial that if we can prove liability and damages, the bar isn’t set unnecessarily low for recovering compensation.
We’ve made a name for ourselves out of providing attentive and dedicated legal representation to those with mesothelioma. If you have any questions about how we can potentially help you or a loved one, please reach out.