Shanks v. DOTAnnotate this Case
After Gary Lynn Shanks died in a head-on collision with another motorcycle on a state highway, the jury in the ensuing wrongful death action determined that the State and the operator of the motorcycle were at fault. Specifically, the jury found the State liable for a dangerous condition on the highway and awarded Shanks's family a total of $12,690,000 in damages. During deliberation, the court excused Juror 7 and seated an alternate. The court concluded that the record did not show as a "demonstrable reality" that Juror No. 7 failed to deliberate or was otherwise unable to perform her duty, and thus the trial court abused its discretion by discharging her. The court explained that the error was prejudicial in that the jury's apportionment of liability between the State and the other defendant was by a nine-to-three vote, and Juror No. 7 had expressed her inclination to vote for the State. Accordingly, the court remanded for retrial of the apportionment issue and affirmed in all other respects.