Speaking with the jury after a trial is always fraught with peril. That issue recently came to light in Olshantesky v. NYCTA, where it was discovered after the trial that the jury consulted an on-line dictionary to help them define the term “substantial.”
The trial court found, and the appellate court agreed, that such research constituted juror misconduct, warranting a mistrial. Interestingly, the appellate court allowed the damages award to stand, finding no evidence that the misconduct affected the jury’s determination on damages. However, the parties will be required to retry the liability case.
If you would like more information, please write to Mike Bono.