(CN) – When a juror is silent during polling, he is not necessarily expressing discontent with the verdict, the California Supreme Court ruled. The high court denied the defendant’s motion for a new trial in a wrongful-death case.
Scott Keener was killed when his motorcycle ran into a truck driven by Hector Solis, who pulled away from a stop sign into his path. Keener’s survivors sued the company Solis was working for, Jeld-Wen Inc., for wrongful death.
The jury found in favor of Keener, but nobody noticed until three days later that the judge had failed to poll Juror No. 7 on the percentages of negligence between the two men for the accident.
Justice George ruled against Jeld-Wen’s motion for a new trial, citing the following statutory passage:
“If upon inquiry or polling, more than one-fourth of the jurors disagree thereto, the jury must be sent out again, but if no disagreement is expressed, the verdict is complete and the jury is discharged from the case.”
“We further conclude,” George wrote, “that a party’s failure to object to an incomplete polling before the jury is discharged forfeits any claim of irregularity in the polling procedure.”