Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Challenge

Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Challenge

On July 16, 2014, the Court of Appeals of Georgia reversed a jury verdict for the defense in a medical malpractice lawsuit due to the trial judge’s manifest abuse of discretion in not stricking a biased juror for cause as requested by Plaintiff. Scarpaci v. Kaufman, 2014 WL 3557545, at *1, 4 and 5 (Ga. App. Jul. 16, 2014). A court cannot “rehabilitate a biased juror simply by asking a talismanic question, such as whether the juror can set aside his personal feelings and decide the case based solely on the evidence and the law”. Id. at *4 (emphasis added).

The biased juror in the Scarpaci medical malpractice case indicated “her inability to be fair and impartial” based on her being a healthcare professional. Id. at *1-4. That biased juror never “retracted her earlier professed inability to be fair and impartial to the parties,” id.; and her “impartiality was never re-established by evidence brought out by questioning by the trial court or counsel”. Id. at 5.