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If you own stock in a liability insurance casualty company are you qualified to sit as a juror in an accident or New York medical malpractice lawsuit?

The answer is no and here's why.

If you own stock in an insurance company that insures against accidents, there is the belief that a juror may not want to award money to an injured victim, somehow believing that such a verdict would affect his stock performance.

We need not prove this would actually occur.

There is the presumption that since someone has invested in an insurance company that protects against liability and casualty, meaning accidents or negligence, a potential juror who has a vested interest in this type of company would not be qualified to sit on an accident case or a medical malpractice case here in New York.

Some people believe that we would need to use one of our challenges, known as a peremptory challenge in order to remove this particular juror. That would be inaccurate.

In fact, if someone is not qualified to sit as a juror for a particular legal reason, then there is no need for an attorney to use up one of his three limited peremptory challenges to remove a juror for any particular reason.

Nor do we need to ask the court to challenge a particular potential juror 'for cause' since there are certain instances, as here, where a potential juror would be immediately disqualified and not be permitted to sit on this type of case.


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer