Is The Recession Making Jurors More Anti-Plaintiff?

According to a recent Los Angeles Time article tough economic times are taking their toll on California jurors.  According to the article, prospective jurors are more insecure about their employment than ever before.  As a result, they are less willing or able to lose wages or take time away from work in order to serve on any case lasting more than a day or two. 

Based on his observation of jury selection proceedings and interviews with prospective jurors, the author opines that more prospective jurors are claiming "economic hardship" to be excused and those who can't get out of service are more likely to constitute a volatile, "disgruntled jury."  

The author cites one juror as suggesting that the recession is causing jurors to raise the bar for plaintiffs seeking money through the judicial system:  

"I think with what is going on in the country, there are a lot of angry people," said retired Broadway actor Sammy Williams. "Money is such an issue and to give money to someone for results of a case, it's really important that they're getting it for a real reason, an important reason."

I'm not so sure.  I could also see a "disgruntled jury" taking out its anger on an employer who fires an employee in this bad job market.  Or, perhaps, disgruntled jurors will tend to vent their frustration against whichever side is wasting the most trial time and keeping it empaneled unnecessarily.

Even if the "disgruntled jury" phenomenon is primarily anecdotal at this point, however, it's definitely something to think about whether you are representing plaintiffs or defendants. 




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