April 17, 2019

American Lawyer’s Litigation Daily Covers Venable’s Win in Obtaining Complete Defense Verdict in $25 Million California Jury Trial

2 min

On April 16, 2019, American Lawyer's Litigation Daily covered Venable's recent win in obtaining a complete defense verdict in a lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and fraud against a hospitality company and its CEO. The jury returned a complete defense verdict and awarded no damages to the plaintiff. 

The case also included a noteworthy example of juror misconduct. During the trial, one juror contacted the plaintiff's attorney by email nine times, offering comments on the evidence, witnesses, and trial testimony. The plaintiff's attorney did not reveal this contact until the third day of jury deliberations, when the plaintiff's attorney requested a mistrial. The judge rejected the mistrial request. The juror was excused and an alternate was brought in. The jury began its deliberations anew. 

"Mr. Derby (plaintiff's attorney) attempts to whitewash plaintiff's stunning delay in disclosing the worst juror conduct imaginable, by explaining that he was too busy to read all of his emails during trial, and was uncertain that the emails came from a juror," wrote Ellyn Garofalo and Jessica Grant in court papers. "However, even a cursory review of the subject emails would lead anyone to conclude—particularly a lawyer in the courtroom—that they were sent by a juror."

"I've never had an experience like this in over 20 years of trying cases," Grant said in an interview.