San Diego Wrongful Death Verdict to be Reviewed by Supreme Court

In 2006, a San Diego jury gave the widow and children of Scott Keener $4.9 million after he was struck on his motorcycle by a truck driver. When the judge polled the jurors for their votes, he forgot to get the answers from one juror on two of the 13 questions. While the juror found that the truck driver was negligent, the judge forgot ask him if he agreed with the other jurors on the apportionment of damages, which they found to be 80% on the defendant, and 20% on the plaintiff.

That mistake led to an appeal and a reversal of the verdict by the Fourth District Court of Appeals, which concluded that:

…the trial court erred in accepting the juror declarations to inquire into and resolve the results of the jury’s decision making process, and also when it made a credibility determination that Santana could not effectively have voted other than 80/20 at any relevant time.

The Keeners have appealed to the California Supreme Court, and arguments will be held on Tuesday.

The entire 4th DCA opinion can be read here (.pdf).

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