A juror in one of the longest trials in history said she read newspaper accounts against the judge's orders during her 3 1/2 years on the case and only went along with the $16 million verdict "to get this over with."
"I don't think we were supposed to read papers or watch television," Evelyn McDougler told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I think most of us did anyway. I have to admit I read the papers. Some of them watched it on TV."
The St. Clair County jury in Belleville, Ill., found on Thursday that the Monsanto Co. failed to warn a Missouri town of the danger of a chemical spill, and it ordered the company to pay $16.2 million in punitive damages. The company said it will appeal.
McDougler said she had been against awarding punitive damages but felt pressure from other jurors and from newspaper accounts of the case.
"The papers said the judge could keep us there for months," she was quoted as saying in today's Post-Dispatch. "In a way, I'm sorry I changed my mind. But I'd been there for 3 1/2 years, and I was really tired. I just wanted my peace of mind."