Merchant v. Forest Family Practice Clinic, PAAnnotate this Case
The estate of Charles Harris filed a medical malpractice action against John Lee, M.D. and the Forest Family Practice Clinic. Days before trial, the estate tried to move the circuit court to transfer venue based on Dr. Lee's status in the community and his son's position as the local sheriff. The circuit court denied the estate's motion. In jury selection, the estate exercised only seven of its ten peremptory challenges. Ultimately the empaneled jury returned a verdict in favor of Dr. Lee and the clinic. On appeal, the estate argued multiple errors at trial pertaining to voir dire and to the court's jury instructions warranted a new trial. Upon review, the Supreme Court found certain jurors' lack of candor during voir dire, and subsequent disclosures and opinions that surfaced only during jury deliberations constituted misconduct that the trial court should have considered before denying the estate's motion to set aside the verdict. Therefore, the Court reversed the circuit court's denial of the estate's motion to set aside the verdict and remanded the case for a new trial.