The justice system in this country seems as loused up as everything else. One of the reasons for this is that the law provides that anyone who has a legal dispute involving more than $50 is entitled to a injury. Most jurors can deal with personal injury and liability cases. But you have to have an MBA from Harvard, a law degree from Stanford and an accounting diploma from the Wharton School to be able to follow the complicated suits that ordinary citizens are required to adjusticate these days.
How can the average jury understand the issues in a multi-billion dollar corporation lawsuit?
A well-known trial lawyer told me they can't. Most juries involved with any business litigation make their decisions based on things other than the thousands of pieces of evidence and months of testimony that neither they nor the judge understand.
This is how it goes in the jury room, he told me.
"I think we should find for the plaintiffs."
"Their chief lawyer always looks so fresh and neat no matter how hot it is in the courtroom."
"I'm for throwing out all the charges. The defense has a woman lawyer on the staff, and I think If we voted for the defendants, it would encourage large corporations to hire more women lawyers."
"That's the stupidest reason I ever heard for judging a case. If we're going to play those rules, we have to take into consideration that one of the plaintiffs' executives has a bad limp. Why not give the billion dollars to them for hiring the handicapped?"
"Wait, we're getting away from the evidence. Let's go over it again."
"Are your crazy? No one in this room knows what anyone out there was talking about."
"Okay. Let's NOT go over the evidence. How do we arrive at a decision?"
"I'm for giving the nod to the plaintiffs. Their backup lawyer always came over to us when he wanted to make a point. The defendant's lawyer preferred to address his remarks to the judge. If he wanted to win, the defense counsel should have paid more attention to us."
"You're too sensitive. Only the fat defendants' lawyer ignored us. The cute one with the horn-rimmed glasses spent a lot of time leaning against the jury box. He had beautiful eyes."
"But he had a beard. I'd never trust a person who sports a beard."
"My son has a beard."
"I thought as much, and while we're on the subject -- I don't trust you either."
"Hold it. We've been together five months. Let's get a decision so we can all go home. How do you vote?"
"How is she voting?"
"I'm voting for the plaintiffs."
"Then I'm voting for the defendants."
"We're never going to see our loved ones again. There has to be a compromise. I suggest we give the plaintiffs half of what they are asking."
"Do you remember when the president of the injured company testified? His entire family sat in the first row for five days. I thought that was very loyal of them. You don't see families that close any more."
"Are you planning to give the plaintiffs half a billion dollars because their chief executive officer has a nice family? How do we know what goes on behind closed doors?"
"I agree. Besides, the defendant company's chairman of the board wore his Shriner's pin when he took the stand. I happen to be a Shriner, and I'll take a lodge brother's word against anyone who drags his kids out of school to sit at a trial."
"We appear to be split on a verdict. Shall I report to the judge that we can't come to a decision?"
"Don't do that. He'll make us read the court transcript again. I say we flip a coin. Heads we find for the plaintiffs -- tails for the defendants."
"Okay, as long as she takes back what she said about men with beards."
"I take it back, but only because I believe justice should be served."