Page 9 - The Suffolk Lawyer - March 2021 - Vol. 36, No. 2
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PERSONAL INJURY  • SPECIAL SECTION • PERSONAL INJURY



                         Jury Selection: An Overlooked Tool of Trial Advocacy

                                                                           By Loris Zeppieri

                 f juries were selected by a neutral third      We will use the following scenario: it is an not a substantial factor (slight pause) in
                 party, their sole endeavor would be to auto accident case; hit in the rear; and plain- causing a significant limitation (slight pause)
            I pick a fair and unbiased panel. How- tiff has summary judgment on liability. The or a permanent consequential limitation
            ever, since juries are selected by advocates     main injury is a cervical fusion performed 15 (slight pause).
            for the parties, there is a secondary goal- to months after the accident and you are dis-           Some of those words have specific legal
            pick a jury that will ultimately find in your puting causation. The main points of your meaning which the judge will tell you about
            favor. You would expect jurors that have a defense are as follows: it was a minor im- at the end of the case.
            bias towards one side or the other to reveal pact; no complaints of pain at the scene; no           Next- start giving the jury a preview of
            that bias and be eliminated by cause or ER treatment; three-day gap before any your defense without stating any specific
            peremptory challenges.                           medical treatment; prior accident with neck facts. I choose somebody to start with that
               So how do you effectively choose be- complaints; 55 year old plaintiff who is em- looks like a solid defense minded juror. You
            tween the remaining jurors - all of whom are ployed as a mechanic.                                need to know each juror’s last name and ad-
            presumed to be open towards hearing both            First, I state my position very clearly as dress them by their last name without look-
            sides and reaching a fair and unbiased con- soon as I get my chance to address the ing at your notes. You have the benefit of
            clusion? Trying to psycho-analyze a juror in panel:                                               learning their names while the plaintiff attor-
            the limited time you have in which to ques-         Hello, my name is Loris Zeppieri and I rep- ney speaks.
            tion them is impossible. Trying to pigeon resent the defendant in this case, John                   Ms. Hernandez- tell me what you think
            hole a juror’s possible thought process using Smith.                                              about this scenario.  (Continued on page 26)
            outdated stereotypes based on age, gender,          I sat here very quietly while plaintiff’s
            occupation, ethnicity, etc., is ineffective.     counsel addressed you. That’s not because I                          Loris Zeppieri
               Instead, I prefer to start guiding the mid- agreed with everything they said. I don’t                              Partner Kelly, Rode & Kelly. LLP
            dle of the pack jurors towards a thought think it would surprise you to know that I                                     Loris Zeppieri is a partner
                                                                                                                                    in the law firm of Kelly,
            process that will lead them to the conclusion disagreed with a lot of what they said. If we                             Rode & Kelly, LLP. Mr. Zep-
            that I ultimately want them to reach at the agreed, we wouldn’t be here.                                                pieri handles cases involv-
            end of the case. Here are some tips on how          It is my position that the injuries plaintiff                      ing all aspects of civil
            to do so from a defense attorney perspec-        alleges in this case were not caused by the                          litigation. Mr. Zeppieri is a
                                                                                                                                 past President of the Nassau-
            tive.                                            accident in question. That the accident was                       Suffolk Trial Lawyers Association.

























































            MARCH 2021 EDITION           www.scba.org • The Official Publication of the Suffolk County Bar Association • THE SUFFOLK LAWYER  9
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