Fort Wayne Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer and Attorney Blog

New Trial Ordered after Court of Appeals Reverses Denied Challenge against Unwilling Juror

By Jack H. FarnbauchNovember 11, 2019

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a woman’s motion to strike a potential juror who expressed an unwillingness to decide the question of damages in a wrongful death case and it will proceed to retrial. A member of the venire informed Plaintiff Tammi Clark’s counsel that he was unable and unwilling to determine damages in a medical malpractice verdict. (See Tammi Clark, as personal representative of the estate of Kandace Pyles, deceased, v. Samer Mattar, M.D.,19A-CT-380). 

The Marion Superior Court denied Clark’s motion to strike venireman Miller for cause, concluding Miller did not meet the qualifications for such a challenge. The denial forced Clark to have no other choice than to use one of her peremptory challenges to remove Miller, a challenge she later needed to remove Juror 3, who was objectionable but could not. 

The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with Clark’s assertion that the trial court abused its discretion when it refused to strike Miller, and reversed the denial, concluding that Miller’s statement did amount to bias or prejudice against the Plaintiff.

The case was therefore reversed and remanded with instructions for a new trial.

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