Ross v. Marion, [Ms. 1140604, Nov. 6, 2015] __ So.3d __ (Ala. 2015). If a jury asks a question and the judge or a member of the judge’s staff speaks to the jury without giving the lawyers the opportunity to be present, the reviewing court does not inquire whether the instructions given were correct. “The only safe course ... is to withhold all inquiry and investigation into the correctness of the instructions or action of the court, and treat them as conclusively prejudicial, by reason of the suitor’s deprivation of his constitutional right.” The only principle softening this rule is that if the Court attempts to contact counsel or if there is an “overruling necessity” for failing to do so, the jury contact without the attorneys present might be permissible. The Court reverses a judgment for the plaintiff on a medical-liability verdict against one doctor and the hospital. The Court also declines to address the plaintiff’s argument that the reversal for a new trial as to that doctor and the hospital also requires reversal of the judgment on the verdict in favor of another doctor, because the plaintiff did not ask the trial court to grant such relief.

Related Documents: Ross 11-6-2015

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