Don’t Trust Your Issues to a Jury
Garry Cantrell and Cantrell Mediation Group know that juries are unpredictable. Especially when compared to finding real, fair, and equitable solutions via mediation.
Stupid decisions by juries don’t require stupid jurors, though they may be, in fact, stupid—it doesn’t matter: The truth is that any particular juror’s intellect might be deemed brilliant, or average, or below average. Some will have had successful careers. Others, not so much. Some will be interested in serving on a jury and be extraordinarily attentive, while others may be apt to doze off. And the vast majority of jurors will have no experience with the legal system.
And those are the people who will decide your case if you fail to mediate and go to trial.
Even a dream jury made up of gifted, experienced, legal minds offers no guarantee of predictability. Nor do judges, nor panels of judges. By way of example, the U.S. Supreme Court reached a landmark decision earlier this week in a case styled Epic Systems v. Lewis. The case involved employer / employee relationships, bargaining between the two, and arbitration clauses. Each side believed themselves to be absolutely correct and their attorneys steadfastly believed they would prevail. It’s an interesting case and will undoubtedly have far reaching impact. The decision was reached by a 5-4 majority. That is, five (5) justices voted in favor of the opinion, and four (4) voted against it.
All nine (9) Supreme Court Justices are really, really, smart. All of them. All of them have incredible experience and education. All of them. And have extraordinarily gifted young lawyers clerking for them. All of them. With all of that brain power, and all of that experience, and all of that education, and all of those hard working clerks, you’d figure they should all agree on the answer to any legal question. Each and every opinion should result in a 9-0 decision. But it doesn’t. A rough review of opinions from the past ten years shows that roughly 10% to 30% of all opinions in any given year are 5-4 decisions. Ten to thirty percent of the time, these nine brilliant people didn’t come close to agreeing on the law. While a large number of cases are 9-0 cases, a substantial number are also decided by an 8-1, or 6-3, (or some other combination that adds up to nine) vote.
As the above demonstrates, juries, and the best courts we have, are unpredictable. Take the uncertainty out of litigation, participate in your own destiny, and mediate.
Garry Cantrell – May23, 2018