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Thread: Jury Duty

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    Jury Duty

    All this talk of a new court house brought back memories of the only time I have had to be a juror. My case was very interesting.

    I had the case where Joseph Bisignano. Here is what the case was about.

    A story released today by the Associated Press reports that an Iowa man who says he spent more than $330,000 on his fiancee, buying her a fur coat, a Vera Wang wedding dress and a 9-plus-carat diamond ring, is suing to get his money back after she jilted him.
    Joseph Bisignano, 66, a stockbroker from West Des Moines, filed a lawsuit in Polk County to recoup $129,000 in gifts and $201,259 in loans and purchases he made for Mary Toon, 54.
    In the lawsuit, Bisignano accuses Toon of fraud, breach of contract and ``unjust enrichment'' if she gets to keep the gifts from their two-year courtship.
    The lawsuit claims Toon ``initiated conversations about having a solemn engagement ceremony with invited friends'' and led him to believe they eventually would marry.
    Bisignano bought Toon clothing, artwork, furniture and a diamond ring valued at $75,000, according to the lawsuit.
    He also began to assist ``in the ordinary maintenance expense for her home,'' and loaned $165,000 to Toon to make investments and buy a truck, according to the lawsuit.
    Toon�s lawyer, Steve DeVolder, said Monday that he would file a response by Friday.
    ``These are mere allegations,'' DeVolder said. ``That doesn't mean any of the allegations will stand up, or even that there is ... a relationship as he described it.''
    Bisignano has had three previous marriages. He divorced in 1975, 1994 and 1999, according to Polk County court records.
    He has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements and, at times, more than $1,000 a month in alimony to each ex-wife, court documents show.
    Toon would have lost alimony from her ex-husband, Dr. Richard Toon, had she married Bisignano. A divorce decree in late 1999 says Toon, a cardiac surgeon from Des Moines, must pay his ex-wife 40 percent of his gross income. At the time, that meant Mary Toon received $11,666 a month. The payments would stop if Mary Toon remarries or if either party dies.


    In short, I felt like Joe was an idiot for giving this woman all this money and Mary Toon was just there for the money. You wouldn't believe the amount of money this woman spent. The big question mark was whether the loans were really loans or gifts. We decided that the ring (9 Karat) was a gift and she could keep it but the rest of the money should be given back. If I didn't have to go by law I would have given the guy back everything.


    It's amazing to think about this 66 year old guy who is smart enough to make a ton of money as a stockbroker but when it comes to women he becomes a complete idiot. This woman had gold digger written all over.


    There is my juror story for the day. Anyone else?



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    Re: Jury Duty

    At least you were picked to be on a jury....I had to spend a day and a half in the courthouse to no be picked for anything. I was on a couple of pannells but that's it.

    At least I'm good for 2 more years of no jury duty.



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    Re: Jury Duty

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs.ISUFan22 View Post
    At least you were picked to be on a jury....I had to spend a day and a half in the courthouse to no be picked for anything. I was on a couple of pannells but that's it.

    At least I'm good for 2 more years of no jury duty.
    Thats because you look shifty and the lawyers didnt trust you.



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    Re: Jury Duty

    I doubt there are two lawyers in the world who'd pick me for a jury. I've been notified several times, but only called once, and I was in the courtroom for like 15 minutes, before I was sent away.


    I'm baaack! See my Hot Milk For Breakfast blog under Social Groups for more details

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    Re: Jury Duty

    I have had jury duty four times, including once for district court. I served on a murder trial and one for a felon stealing/possessing firearms. I think they call the same people to serve. I swear 90% of my neighborhood has never had to report for jury duty. I'm all for people serving, but I'm tired of it being me when so many haven't.



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    Re: Jury Duty

    I've had summons 2x but never had to appear. Both cases were resolved out of court, I never even knew what they were about. Which made me happy, becaues I didn't have a car at the time


    As for that case with the woman... good freak'n grief, 40% of the guy's salary in Alimony? that seems a bit steep... especially for how much that guy makes. You don't need $11,000/month to get by! And as for the stock broker... doesn't seem very intelligent when it came to that lady but yeah... I'd have sided with him too


    Oh we will fight, fight, fight for Iowa State,
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    In Accordance with Prophecy

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    Re: Jury Duty

    Most cases are settled out of Court these days, Trials are becoming exceedingly rare. I have had to sit through enough jury voir dires to know exactly what to say to ensure that I get bumped from a jury.

    I will say that after sitting through numerous trials, some of the stories you get from people are better than any scriptwriter could come up with.



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    Re: Jury Duty

    My only jury duty experience was for a case involving a man charged with carrying a concealed weapon (switchblade) during a traffic stop.

    I thought the whole process was kind of interesting to sit through but I'm geeky that way.

    During deliberations we were really split and asked to see the "weapon". The authorities had it taped open and suggested we leave it that way. But once we got a hold of it we ripped the tape off and played with it a little bit. First of all it didn't flip open with much of any force and secondly didn't always catch when you did flip it open. We ended up deciding it was a glorified pocket knife, the guy was a dope and the officer was a little over zealous.



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    Re: Jury Duty

    I was the foreman on a jury last year. It was a lot of fun. The guy was caught with weed in the cup holder between him and his gf. The car was stopped by the police for improper tags, and then they searched it and found the bud. His claim was that it was not his, and he did not even know that it was there, except it was in plain sight and when the cops asked him what he planned on doing with the weed his response was "we are going to smoke it." His defense was that he did not know it was there, and he was being sarcastic with the cops when they found it.

    I was ok with that, the prosecutors did NOT do a good job proving he knew it was there, of course then they brought in his previous record, of which he has a whole laundry list, including 4 prior arrests for posession of a controlled substance.

    Then they explained the Iowa law, and the way it read, it did not matter if he knew it was there or not, he was in such close proximity of it, that he was guilty anyway.

    It took us 30 minutes to pick a foreman, and finally I was just like, jeez, I will do it if no one else will. And then it took another hour or so just to go through all the evidence and re-read the law. It was funny, some of the Jury wanted to stretch it out so they got a free lunch, I was just like your time is worth more than $10, lets just vote and go home!

    We convicted him, and I think he spent like 2 days in Jail. His lawyer called me a few days later and told me it was in fact his weed, and he knew he was going to jail, and was just playing the game. I told his lawyer we did not want to convict him, but there was some pretty damning evidence of things he told police, so it was impossible to not think he knew about it.


    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin 1775

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    Re: Jury Duty

    OK, I have mentioned my jury duty experience a couple times on here but I'll get more detailed this time.

    Last fall, I was on a jury for a civil lawsuit in Dallas County. A woman and her husband were suing a church in Waukee for negligence. This church had 2 foot tall and 4 foot wide cornerstone (from the original church built like a hundred years ago) mounted onto the center of a “walkway” outside of the church which leads to the doors.

    This particular church had a daycare in the basement (which was not affiliated with the church other than renting out the space) and the woman plaintiff worked on staff for several years at the daycare. One day while going into the daycare with her kids she was distracted talking to some other lady and walking backwards and tripped and fell over the stone (while she was pregnant) and shattered her forearm pretty badly.

    She had some pretty bad, lingering injuries including constant tingling and pain and still has some to this day. Luckily, there was no harm to her unborn child. A couple years go by and they bring up this lawsuit.

    Now, for lawsuit details…

    The plaintiffs argued that the church was negligent for having the stone in the middle of a “sidewalk.” And that they were responsible for medical expense plus “emotional damages” plus lost income and PTO, etc. for the husband having to take time off work (I will get into this claim more).

    A little more background info…

    The woman did have a real and ongoing issue with her arm – which everyone in the jury sympathized with. She had her baby a few months later and had some issues taking care of it because she could not use one arm. She was a stay at home mom and the husband was the only income source. The family also had like 3 or 4 other kids. The family was claiming emotional damages (asking for $150,000 or so) because the mother was “unable to bond” with the baby. A side note - In the time between the accident (and the birth of the child) and the time they decided to sue they had another baby.

    The defense argued this:

    This woman had worked at this daycare for years and walked in and out of the building thousands of times with no incident. Nobody else had ever fallen and the plaintiff had never brought up the cornerstone as something that should be moved(she claimed that she always felt it was an issue but the defense brought up 3 or 4 witnesses that basically laughed it off saying she was full of crap basically). People take pictures with the cornerstone all the time and even kids play on it. The “sidewalk” was like 10 feet wide and not a small sidewalk, so the cornerstone CLEARLY divided it into two smaller walkways. Also, I want to add that the jury’s main defense was a “common sense” argument and that of reasonable care. Should someone using reasonable care expect to not fall over this thing!?

    I ended up being the spokesperson for the jury and kind of lead the discussion. The jury was overwhelming unsympathetic for these 2 main reasons:

    1.The main reason was because it WAS A FREAKING ACCIDENT and accidents happen.
    2.One of the main things that killed the families “emotional distress” claim in our minds was the fact that they were claiming the wife couldn’t bond with her baby because of the injuries – but in the meantime, she got pregnant AGAIN – just a few months later. Are you kidding me!? If you can’t afford your medical bills and you have a single income house, then DON’T GET PREGNANT AGAIN! (a sidenote – they were members of the church of latter day saints – figures…)

    We found the church not negligent at all. We all felt that it would be better for the church to put the stone somewhere else but that using reasonable care should be expected by people walking to and from. I think the plaintiffs were SHOCKED but we all felt very strongly that this was an accident and accidents happen.

    I’m sure I left out a lot of details but you get the gist of it…


    While on live TV, Ford used a vulgar term to describe a private part of the female anatomy, adding that he was “happily married” and “got more than enough to eat at home.”

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    Re: Jury Duty

    Disclaimer. I'm an attorney. I do not try cases myself but I have to manage a lot of litigation. A jury is a crapy shoot that I want no part of. My very first jury case however I was clerking in Iowa. We were representing the driver of vehicle B, which rearended vehicle A, which was stopped to make a left turn. B rearended A at a wopping 5 mph max. Driver A sees the dcotor once. 18 months go by. Driver A is hit by Driver C in town. Driver C 1) doesn't have insurance, 2) doesn't own the car, nor does the owner have insurance. What happens? you guessed it driver B sued our client driver A. I could bore you with an infinite amount of details all of which the attorney's thought were total and massively relevant but I won't. She asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars. After a five day trial, she got $1250 or something like that. (It's been a few years). I polled the jury afterwards to find out what piece of brillant lawyering swung them into our camp. There were 8. Three of them were female senior citizens. The three of them convinced everyone else that if theplaintiff really had debilitating neck and back injuries she would not have come to court in the high heel shoes that she wore every day. Something that we never even pointed out. That my friends is our jury system at work. As an attorney it is both frightening and reassuring at the same time.


    Hope is not a method. Soon is not a time.

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    Re: Jury Duty

    Quote Originally Posted by tec71 View Post
    Disclaimer. I'm an attorney. I do not try cases myself but I have to manage a lot of litigation. A jury is a crapy shoot that I want no part of. My very first jury case however I was clerking in Iowa. We were representing the driver of vehicle B, which rearended vehicle A, which was stopped to make a left turn. B rearended A at a wopping 5 mph max. Driver A sees the dcotor once. 18 months go by. Driver A is hit by Driver C in town. Driver C 1) doesn't have insurance, 2) doesn't own the car, nor does the owner have insurance. What happens? you guessed it driver B sued our client driver A. I could bore you with an infinite amount of details all of which the attorney's thought were total and massively relevant but I won't. She asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars. After a five day trial, she got $1250 or something like that. (It's been a few years). I polled the jury afterwards to find out what piece of brillant lawyering swung them into our camp. There were 8. Three of them were female senior citizens. The three of them convinced everyone else that if theplaintiff really had debilitating neck and back injuries she would not have come to court in the high heel shoes that she wore every day. Something that we never even pointed out. That my friends is our jury system at work. As an attorney it is both frightening and reassuring at the same time.
    I would have to agree with you tec, I did a jury trial about a month ago. Woman was in a store and a 6 pound vacuum fell 1 foot onto her hand. She claimed to have permanently lost the use of her hand. Video surveillance showed her playing kickball, moving heavy objects and acting normally. Her lawyers wanted $4 million. Jury gave her Five hundred thousand. Verdict was nothing short of legalized robbery.



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    Re: Jury Duty

    Quote Originally Posted by tec71 View Post
    Something that we never even pointed out. That my friends is our jury system at work. As an attorney it is both frightening and reassuring at the same time.
    This is exactly what went through our minds in my story above. If you are claiming to be unable to emotionally attach and afford your baby you just had, THEN DON'T HAVE ANOTHER ONE JUST MONTHS LATER!!!! You lose all sympathy...


    While on live TV, Ford used a vulgar term to describe a private part of the female anatomy, adding that he was “happily married” and “got more than enough to eat at home.”

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    Re: Jury Duty

    It's disheartening the things people will sue over. :(



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    Re: Jury Duty

    Quote Originally Posted by benjay View Post
    It's disheartening the things people will sue over. :(
    It's disheartening that a jury would give a woman $500K when she has no permanent disability.



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