Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You are Dismissed

I was called for jury duty yesterday. I was selected as juror number 4 in a civil case. It was all very interesting. Yesterday was kind of mind numbing. One of the lawyers was not well prepared. The Judge, Bob McGrath, was an awesome, cool guy. The lawyer for the plaintiff drove me nuts with English grammar faux pas and his general inability to present and submit evidence. Yesterday around 4 the Judge adjourned and said we would reconvene at 9a. Heather agreed to cover my class for me today. This morning I headed back to the courthouse for another day of sustained objections by the defense lawyer. Around 920 the Judge came into the jury room and announced that the case had been settled out of court, so we were dismissed. Everyone, including the Judge, breathed a sigh of relief. The judge said he was sorry that we had to sit through such an incompetent presentation of evidence yesterday. Because it was all over we could discuss the case amongst ourselves while the bailiff went to get our checks. We didn't really discuss the case so much as the plaintiff's lawyer. On our way out we (the jury) ran into the defendant. She thanked us for our time and service. I asked her if she made out okay. Her (very confident) lawyer announced that they walked away without paying anything and the plaintiff was paying half of her lawyer's fees. So yeah, she made out okay.
I learned a lot yesterday. I learned that the lower your juror number is when you are assigned to a court, the more likely you are to be selected. I learned a little about contracts. Always get a contract in writing. Get signatures. If circumstances change, draw up a new contract. Keep very good records. Keep detailed records. Keep receipts and invoices to back up your checks. I just hope I never end up in a lawsuit. Oh, and if you do, get a good lawyer.

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