During the process of selecting a jury for a trial the attorneys and the judge ask potential jurors questions. The questioning is called voir dire (which means to speak the truth). When potential jurors conceal facts by not truthfully responding to questions they deprive the attorneys of important information that could have been used in evaluating the propriety of their sitting as impartial jurors in the particular case.
Sometimes, the concealment of facts during voir dire is considered so harmful to the process of jury selection that a verdict is thrown out.
A new malpractice trial is ordered because jurors who awarded $28 million failed to disclose lawsuits.
A judge Friday threw out a $28 million medical-malpractice verdict — one of the biggest in Central Florida history — because three jurors misled attorneys during jury selection.
Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson decided that Longwood gynecologist Dr. Robert Bowles did not get a fair trial, so she ordered a new one.
At the start of the trial, a lawyer for Davis had asked each potential juror to raise a hand if he or she had ever been involved in a lawsuit. Two men who wound up on the final panel sat silently and kept their hands at their sides.
They should have raised them, the judge concluded. One, jury foreman Steven D. Holloway, had been sued twice. The other juror had been sued three times, according to court records.
A third person, who also was eventually picked, told lawyers about a medical-malpractice suit she had filed against her gynecologist but said nothing about nine suits that had been filed against her.
Nearly all of those undisclosed suits — 14 in all — involved unpaid debts.
After hearing two hours of arguments, Nelson threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial.