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.