A new definition of hell

June 22, 2009

Today’s service on jury duty has given me a new definition of hell: a personal injury lawsuit whose origin was a rear-ending accident.

And I didn’t even sit on the jury. It was enough to be on the panel of 40 they were interviewing for the jury. This was their second attempt to seat a jury—apparently something was said in front of the earlier group that voided their service.

And then we, the last, hardy stalwarts left, got called to voir dire. That’s when the lawyers interview the jurors to determine which they want on the jury.

At the outset, my mission was to make myself as unlikeable to the lawyers as possible.

That was after it was clear that every potential juror had a back injury, auto accident or whiplash, doctors’ visits, chiropractors and massage therapy that they needed to tell the judge and lawyers about in great detail.

This could not bode well for deliberations.

So early in the process I saw my first chance. Her Honor pointed out that the jury would be determining “damages”.

I raised my juror number and addressed the plaintiff’s lawyer and the judge: “Would damages be different from “expenses?” I asked disingenously.

“Great question,” said the unctuous personal injury lawyer. “Would you have a problem giving pain and suffering compensation?”

“I would,” I replied.

Ok, so it’s true that a close friend was rear-ended and his whiplash was so bad that he is seriously disabled, and it’s real.


I knew that would pretty much get me out of the case.

But for backup, had another opportunity when the plaintiff’s lawyer came ‘round to my personal interview.

“So, are you presently married?” he asked.
“No, but I’m getting married,” I replied.
Waited a beat.
Then offered, “To a lawyer.”

Now FLH said I should have waited another beat and said, “For the second time.”

He pointed out that mental instability is grounds for excusing a juror.

Yes, good point. A missed opportunity.

But still, I got excused just before 5pm. After spending an entire day there.

However, I must give Hillsborough County props for how they currently accommodate prospective jurors. The large juror auditorium has free wireless, and some desktop carrels to work at. The chairs have padded seats. Some tables are provided. There had to be 500 magazines.

So if you had to hang out, at least you could work. Or read.

And, you don’t have to keep coming back every day. You serve one day, unless you are called to be on a jury. YES. Civilized.

The only real problem was Riley. His day care opens too late for me to get him there and be at jury duty at 8am. I didn’t want him to be in his crate for 9 hours. So, I called my girlfriend’s son, who does odd jobs for me, and engaged him to sit with with Riley for a few hours.

I should point out a few other things, too. FLH and I will be in that very same courthouse in exactly 23 days. Because that is where our friend, the judge, will marry us.

So, when I got home, I decided to take a shower.
You have to be really careful when you take a shower at my house, because a panty thief lurks.

See that guilty look? Yeah. It’s him.

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