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May 2011 Archives

Court Abuses Discretion in Failing to Poll Jury Regarding Newspaper Article

In Kervick v. Silver Hill Hospital, 128 Conn. App. 341 (2011), the Appellate Court held that the existence of an inflammatory newspaper article, coupled with the fact that the jury had not previously been instructed by a judge to avoid media coverage, was sufficient information to indicate the possibility of juror partiality and, as such, the court was required to conduct a preliminary inquiry to this effect. The trial court's denial of plaintiff's counsel's request to poll the jury as to its exposure to the article constituted an abuse of discretion and, at a minimum, jeopardized the plaintiff's constitutional right to an impartial jury. Therefore, the judgment of the trial court was reversed, and the case was remanded for a new trial according to law.