News & Analysis as of

2016 California Labor and Employment Legislation Update: It’s Final!

Seyfarth Synopsis: Employers in California: be aware and prepare for new laws increasing minimum wages and mandating overtime pay for agricultural employees; expanding the California Fair Pay Act to race and ethnicity and to...more

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Allowing for Six Person Juries

On September 22, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court in Kakos v. Butler, 2016 IL 120377, struck down Public Act 98-1132 (the “Act”), which limited the size of a civil jury to six persons and increased the amount paid per day to...more

Accountant and Attorney Liability Newsbrief - Fall 2016

Massachusetts recently amended its pay equity statute, which substantially enforces the protections of the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act. These changes will go into effect in July 2018. The prohibitions against discriminating...more

Did You Search Your Jurors’ Social Media? There Are Rules

If you represented a large corporation or a wealthy individual, wouldn’t you want to know if your prospective jurors were campaigning for Bernie Sanders on Facebook? Or how about criminal prosecutors who might want to know if...more

Seen on the Screen

This is one of those stories you simply cannot make up. We were using technology to get some ideas about technology. That is, we were surfing around the internet to find descriptions of the successful use of technology...more

A Trial Attorney’s “Google” Responsibilities

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media services store the personal and professional information of millions of users. To the enterprising trial attorney, that’s millions of tweets, posts, photos, ‘likes’, pins,...more

Social Media Research After Voir Dire – The Jodi Arias Case

Forward-thinking attorneys are utilizing social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to perform preliminary jury research during voir dire, but what happens after the jury is empanelled? Courts...more

District Court Asks Google and Oracle to Consent to Ban on Internet Research of Jury Panel

Following up on the district court's previous ruling barring the use of jury questionnaires, the district court addressed the issue of whether any Internet research of the potential jurors should be permitted. After analyzing...more

Friend Request Denied: Judge Asks Attorneys to Refrain from Social Media Searches of Jurors

In late March 2016, a California federal judge asked both Google, Inc. and Oracle America, Inc. to voluntarily consent to a ban against Internet and social media research on empaneled or prospective jurors until the...more

Google and Oracle Agree to Ban Internet Research on Jurors … this Time Around

In a March 25, 2016 Order, Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California gave Google and Oracle the choice between agreeing to a ban on conducting Internet and social media research on jurors until the trial is...more

You Still Need A Reason To Use Peremptory Challenges

On Feb. 9, the California Court of Appeal published People v. Cisneros, 2015 DJDAR 1603, which is a good reminder to all trial lawyers — criminal and civil — that they must have a reason to exercise a peremptory challenge to...more

How Do You Prove Juror Misconduct After a Trial?

Every trial attorney’s worst fear is a saboteur juror, lying in wait to poison the jury’s assumed impartiality. Think John Cusack’s character in The Runaway Jury. Voir dire is supposed to allow a trial attorney to ferret out...more

Autozone's Predicament: A $185 Million Punitive Damage Award

The record $185 million punitive damage award by a California jury in November 2014 against AutoZone has been widely reported. This huge verdict raises immediate questions: How did this happen? What circumstances led the jury...more

Friending and Following Jurors: The Ethical Boundaries of Researching Jurors on Social Media

What are the ethical boundaries of an attorney’s internet research of jurors? Before the ubiquity of the internet, an attorney obviously couldn’t walk up to a potential juror in a restaurant and strike up a conversation. But...more

Beware of the possibility that jurors may be tweeting and blogging during trial—ignoring admonitions from the trial judge. One...

Many people cannot control their social media impulses and this is now becoming an issue during trials. Disregarding the court’s instructions that jurors are not to discuss the case with anyone during the trial, there are...more

If You Uncover Potential Juror Bias, Do You Tell The Court? Yes

On the eve of a criminal trial, you decide to Google the names of a few prospective jurors. One appears to have been suspended from the practice of law due to a criminal conviction. The next day at voir dire, however, the...more

Status Updates - July 2014 #14

..Going mainstream. For the first time, both Twitter and Facebook are seeing significant growth in online advertising placed by major companies for brands such as Heineken, Tide, McDonald’s, and Charmin. Major consumer...more

Psychology In the Courtroom - Is Social Science "Common Sense" or a Tool to Correct Juror Misconceptions?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issued two decisions regarding the use of social science experts in criminal cases. As noted by University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, however, the opinions appear to...more

May 2014: Trial Practice Update: Courts, Lawmakers, and Other Groups Grapple with Juror Misuse of Social Media and the Internet

Jurors are expected to decide cases based on evidence they see and hear in the courtroom, after deliberating while sequestered from outside influences. For decades, courts have enforced rules and practices designed to make...more

Are Jurors Entitled to Have a Conscience? #CriminalDefense

Jury nullification occurs whenever a criminal jury’s collective conscience is troubled by what is deemed to be an unjust law or a truly unique set of circumstances that justify ignoring the law. In such rare cases, the jury...more

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