Sunday, April 27, 2008
During a dental malpractice trial in Gage county district court the judge kept a trial schedule so tight that the jury heard the entire case in one week with over sixty hours of trial time. Malchow v. Doyle, S-06-219, 275 Neb. 530The jury verdict went to the dentist and the plaintiff appealed claiming the grueling trial schedule and possible juror misconduct prejudiced the plaintiff. Nebraska Supreme Court finds no abuse of discretion in the lengthy court sessions and no juror misconduct after it refused to admit affidavits from jurors who claimed the foreman was injecting his own legal standards of proof into the case. The Supreme Court did modify the court's discovery sanction against the defendant to remove the plaintiff's expert's extra costs to prepare for testimony when the defendant delayed submitting discovery materials. "the trial was conducted over a 5-day period and 62 hours were devoted to the trial. T he record does not show that either party was restricted in the presentation of its evidence. Malchow has not demonstrated that she was prejudiced in presenting her case based on the length of each trial day, and she is not entitled to an inference that the jury resented her because of the length of the trial. We conclude that the district court did not arbitrarily place time limits on either party or restrict the presentation of evidence. Thus, the court did not abuse its discretion in overruling any motions for mistrial on the basis of the conduct of the trial." juror’s knowledge about the burden of proof is personal knowledge that is not directly related to the litigation at issue and is not extraneous information. Doyle did not pay certain specified fees to Miloro in advance as agreed upon, which resulted in the deposition’s being canceled. We conclude that the district court abused its discretion in ordering Doyle to pay the $6,000 charged by Miloro as compensation for time he spent preparing for the deposition. Whether Miloro needed to spend 12 additional hours to prepare for a 2-hour discovery deposition by Doyle is not the question, but, rather, whether Doyle should have been ordered to pay such charges. We conclude that the district court’s order on this issue was in error.