Friday, November 7, 2014

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!

CB Richard Ellis v. Tera Nova Consultants, No. G049803 (D4d3 Oct. 7, 2014)

During an effort put a defunct LLC’s members on the hook for its debts, the trial court let the jury see an arbitral ruling—complete with reasoning and factual findings—against the LLC that was the basis of those debts. That was error in that it potentially suggested that the defendants—nonparties in the arbitration—might be bound by the award. The ruling was also hearsay. The court, however, finds the mistake harmless. 

There’s also a jury misconduct issue. Two jurors submitted very brief declarations under Evidence Code § 1150 that another juror had said he knew the defendants and that they were “guilty, guilty, guilty.” That juror, however, submitted a detailed declaration saying he did nothing of the sort, and the court finds that it was not an abuse of discretion for the trial court to rely on the detailed declaration to deny a new trial motion. That seems right. But as I’ve said before, our courts really need to get out of this business altogether.


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