(CN) – A mother’s loud wailing on the witness stand does not entitle the plaintiff to a new trial, a Florida appeals court ruled. The jury was “taken aback” by the emotional outburst, and the trial judge noted that “what went on was one of the strangest things I’ve been a part of.”
Elaine Rinder called her mother as a witness to the injuries Rinder allegedly suffered in a car accident. Rinder’s mother, who is in her eighties and deaf, had been in the car at the time of the accident.
“Through an interpreter for the deaf,” the ruling states, “(Rinder’s mother) explained that she looked over at her daughter and thought she was dead. At that point the mother let out a wail, and the judge ordered the bailiff to take the jury out of the courtroom.” The cry was described as loud wailing.
When the jurors were brought back, the court told them to disregard the testimony and the outburst. They eventually found for the plaintiff, but awarded her less than requested.
The lower court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a mistrial, saying the intensity alone wasn’t grounds for new trial. The 4th District Court of Appeals agreed.
“The outburst startled the jurors and the court,” Judge Warner wrote, “but it did not result in an excessively emotional reaction from the jurors or court personnel.”
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