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March 2015: U.S. Supreme Court Victory in Important Jury Deliberations Case

March 2015

The firm won a unanimous victory on December 9, 2014, in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Warger v. Shauers, in which the Court agreed with the firm that Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) prohibited use of juror testimony to impeach a fellow juror’s honesty in voir dire. This victory is particularly important because it resolves a long-standing circuit split regarding the application of Rule 606(b), which generally prohibits testimony of jurors about statements made during deliberations when the testimony is offered in “an inquiry into the validity of a verdict or indictment.” In the case, Petitioner appealed a jury verdict finding that the defendant was not negligent in an automobile accident in which Petitioner suffered injuries. In challenging the verdict, Petitioner sought to introduce an affidavit of a juror alleging a fellow juror was dishonest during voir dire. In its unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court held that Rule 606(b) prohibits using juror testimony of purported juror dishonesty during voir dire to attempt to overturn a jury verdict and seek a new trial. Partner Sheila L. Birnbaum successfully argued the case before the Supreme Court.