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Kennedy v. Wheeler

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-28-2013
Case #: A149019
Duncan, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Wollheim, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A149019.pdf

Civil Procedure: When there is a twelve-person jury, the same nine or more jurors must agree on every interdependent element of a particular claim against a particular defendant.

Kennedy filed a negligence action against Wheeler and Hall and sought recovery for injuries that arose out of an automobile accident involving both parties. The trial court instructed the jury that at least the same nine jurors were required to agree on each answer on the verdict form. The jury found Wheeler and Hall liable and awarded Kennedy both economic and noneconomic damages. On request, the court then polled the jury and it became evident that the nine jurors who agreed on the economic damages award were not the same nine jurors who agreed on the noneconomic damages award. On appeal, Wheeler and Hall argued that because the same nine jurors failed to agree on all elements required to sustain the verdict, that the verdict was unconstitutional, and that a new trial was required. When there is a twelve-person jury, the same nine or more jurors must agree on every interdependent element of a particular claim against a particular defendant. Therefore, the Court of Appeals concluded that the verdict violated Article VII (Amended), section 5(7), of the Oregon Constitution, and the court erred in entering a general judgment based on that verdict. Reversed and remanded.