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Negligence : Wrongful Death – Juror Nondisclosure –  Litigation History 

Stephanie Maniscalco//May 23, 2018

Negligence : Wrongful Death – Juror Nondisclosure –  Litigation History 

Stephanie Maniscalco//May 23, 2018

Where a railroad company sought a new trial in a wrongful death case on claims including juror nondisclosure based on a juror’s failure to reveal her involvement in prior litigation, the defendant waived the claim for relief by failing to conduct a reasonable investigation of the juror’s name since the defendant was informed with ample time to conduct a search, and the judgment is affirmed over the defendant’s claims of error in the submission of instructions and in opening statements.


No waiver

Dissenting opinion by Powell, J.: “I respectfully dissent. BNSF did not waive its juror nondisclosure claim related to automobile accident history based on Rule 69.025, as the principal opinion maintains. By its plain language, Rule 69.025 is limited to claims that a juror ‘failed to disclose that he or she has been a party to litigation.’ Nothing in the text of Rule 69.025 provides it applies to claims of juror nondisclosure beyond litigation history, such as a juror’s failure to disclose a family member had been involved in an automobile accident. The principal opinion’s expansive application of Rule 69.025 strays beyond the rule’s plain language and does not comport with this Court’s principles of interpretation.”

Judgment is affirmed.

Spence v. BNSF Railway Company (MLW No. 71688/Case No. SC96195 – 21 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Wilson, J.; Fischer, C.J., Draper, Russell and Breckenridge, JJ., concur; Powell, J., dissents in separate opinion filed; Stith, J., concurs in opinion of Powell, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Stoddard County, Mitchell, J. (Booker T. Shaw, St. Louis; Randy P. Scheer, Springfield; Susan Ford Robertson, Kansas City, Missouri; and Laurel E. Stevenson, Springfield, for appellant) (Michael W. Manners,.Lexington; Jeff Bauer, Springfield; and J. Michael Ponder and Kathleen A. Wolz, Cape Girardeau, for respondent).

Read the full text of this opinion. (PDF)

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