Friday, December 14, 2007

Judge not less ye be judged

As a Judge you must be aware of your actions on the bench in front of a jury. They cue on what they perceive is the Judge's bias or what they believe he/she thinks of the parties.

$14 Million Med-Mal Verdict Tossed Out due to Judge's Actions

A New York state appeals court has thrown out a $14 million medical malpractice verdict, holding that a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge's inappropriate conduct, including presenting the brain-damaged 4-year-old plaintiff with a box of candy in front of the jury, denied the defense a fair trial.

"[B]y virtue of the cumulative effect of the improper conduct of the trial court ... the jury could not have considered the issues at trial in a fair, calm and unprejudiced manner," the unanimous Appellate Division, 2nd Department, panel held in its unsigned decision, DeCrescenzo v. Gonzalez, 28828/01.

Plaintiff Patrick DeCrescenzo's family filed suit in 2001, claiming that Patrick suffered brain damage from trauma associated with his birth in January 2000.
The defendants, Dr. Orlando Gonzalez and Staten Island's St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Center, contended that an in utero stroke caused Patrick's injury.

The case went to trial before Justice Bernadette Bayne in December 2004. The jury awarded Patrick $600,000 on Jan. 19, 2005, one week after his fifth birthday.