Jury Duty

UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
So….. One of the big claims against the trustees is that they are mismanaging funds from the trust. The beneficiaries claim they are needlessly spending money. At some point I expect we will hear they want a bunch of money back.
One of the beneficiaries happens to work for the trustees as a go between to the other B’s. She gets paid from the trust for her services. $50/hr, mileage, and reimbursements for trust purchased items on her credit card. She lives in Cali. She is expensing her two weeks stay here for the court case.
She was on the stand today and the defense lawyer was asking her opinion of trust expenses. She said in her position she is able to see all the needless money that gets spent so she knows first hand of the corruption.
The lawyer then goes back to the desk and grabs an envelope. He ask her if she knows what it it. She says it looks like the expense envelope she turned in last night with the receipts from the first week of court.
He reaches in and pulled out a handful of receipts. The first one is $150 for dinner in park city. She tried to explain that park city is expensive and it was a normal expense for that area. He didn’t buy it but went along with it. He pulled out another receipt. This was for two tee shirts purchased from a park city shop. She came unglued yelling how she didn’t know how that got put in the envelope. He pulls out another one. A pair of pants from a park city store. Now she was really yelling. Trying to explain it. Saying she just grabbed a bunch of receipts from her purse and put them in the envelope without looking at them. Her lawyer is objecting to the whole thing. The judge finally calms everyone down and then orders the jury to leave the court room while they clear up what just happened.

We were brought back in and told the envelope was improperly entered into evidence and that we were to forget the whole thing happened.

Yeah, right. 😂
 

UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
Day 7:
After a long weekend we were back at it. We had two "expert witnesses" today that really didn't help sway me either way. They were both on the plaintiff's payroll. One guy made it seem like you need to have a Phd to be a trustee and if you don't and you screw up (while doing your best to honor the wishes of the decedent) it's all your fault.....and maybe it is. I just don't feel like you should be totally liable. The take away here is if you love your family and friends and want them to be set up when you pass, make a random, off the street, CPA or lawyer your trustee. Give them nothing but a flat fee to do the job. And unless you are a lawyer or CPA do not accept the position of a trustee, no matter the relation to the trustor. Best just to give everything to your dog.

Best part of today: the plaintiff's rested their case! This is supposed to wrap up on Friday, but I'm not sure if that means deliberation wraps up on Friday or not.

Worst part of today: My company graciously, "...pays for the time spend on jury duty". That's according to our policy book. Jury duty is 9am to 5pm. They will deduct my $50/day of jury pay from my pay check. Well I go into work each morning before 5am and work till 8:40ish before running over to the courthouse. So in my mind, last week I had 40 hours of jury duty, minus my $50/day and about 18 hours of regular pay. I saw my electronic time card was adjusted today to show 7.5 hours of jury duty each day last week. Nothing else. I'm debating not going in tomorrow or Friday, as now I work for free. My boss has really worked himself into a pickle on a large project and I need to be there to help out. Hmmmmmmm.
 

Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
Day 7:
After a long weekend we were back at it. We had two "expert witnesses" today that really didn't help sway me either way. They were both on the plaintiff's payroll. One guy made it seem like you need to have a Phd to be a trustee and if you don't and you screw up (while doing your best to honor the wishes of the decedent) it's all your fault.....and maybe it is. I just don't feel like you should be totally liable. The take away here is if you love your family and friends and want them to be set up when you pass, make a random, off the street, CPA or lawyer your trustee. Give them nothing but a flat fee to do the job. And unless you are a lawyer or CPA do not accept the position of a trustee, no matter the relation to the trustor. Best just to give everything to your dog.

Best part of today: the plaintiff's rested their case! This is supposed to wrap up on Friday, but I'm not sure if that means deliberation wraps up on Friday or not.

Worst part of today: My company graciously, "...pays for the time spend on jury duty". That's according to our policy book. Jury duty is 9am to 5pm. They will deduct my $50/day of jury pay from my pay check. Well I go into work each morning before 5am and work till 8:40ish before running over to the courthouse. So in my mind, last week I had 40 hours of jury duty, minus my $50/day and about 18 hours of regular pay. I saw my electronic time card was adjusted today to show 7.5 hours of jury duty each day last week. Nothing else. I'm debating not going in tomorrow or Friday, as now I work for free. My boss has really worked himself into a pickle on a large project and I need to be there to help out. Hmmmmmmm.

IMO

If you work for a good company that takes good care of you, do them a solid and keep going into work. They are gracious enough to pay for your forced time off, so be gracious enough to show your appreciation. I judge my guys harder on the things they do while I’m not looking, instead of when I am looking.
 

UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
Day 8:
Defense called a few witnesses. This was kind of an interesting case. They called it a hybrid case because both sides had some of the same witnesses. So sometimes a lawyer would cross examine a witness and then immediately turn around and examine them as their own witness in an effort to same time and so the witness did not need to get on the stand twice. So anyways, the defense only had a couple expert witnesses left on their list by this point. One was a trust lawyer that for me, completely closed the case for me.
All that's left now is jury instruction, closing arguments and then deliberation. They haven't named the alternate juror yet so there's a chance I'll get kicked out. At this point I'd really like to see it through.
 

Kevin B.

Big hippy
Location
Stinkwater
IMO

If you work for a good company that takes good care of you, do them a solid and keep going into work. They are gracious enough to pay for your forced time off, so be gracious enough to show your appreciation. I judge my guys harder on the things they do while I’m not looking, instead of when I am looking.
Not to derail the thread but if he's busting his butt to get in a couple hours of work before the jury duty that he's legally required to do, a good company would pay him for it.
 

xj_nate

Doctor, economist, polical expert, poser
Location
UT
In a previous life I worked in land records for Salt Lake County so I saw plenty of fighting amongst family members regarding trusts. It was INSANE. I was seriously blown away by how ugly people become when their parents die and there is money to fight over. I told my parents to die penny-less because I don't want my siblings to fight :grimacing:
 

skippy

Pretend Fabricator
Location
Tooele
In a previous life I worked in land records for Salt Lake County so I saw plenty of fighting amongst family members regarding trusts. It was INSANE. I was seriously blown away by how ugly people become when their parents die and there is money to fight over. I told my parents to die penny-less because I don't want my siblings to fight

I dont want you guys to fight either, so your parents can leave me there money
 

UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
Day 9:
It's over!!! What an interesting experience, to say the least. I am grateful to have had it, and now hope I never have to do it again. At least not one that covers 10 days total.

So yesterday we heard closing arguments all morning long and didn't really break much. By 1pm we were in the jury room deliberating and eating lunch at the same time. We had lost one juror several days ago who got sick. One more juror was sent home, being the other alternate just before we started deliberating. I'm glad it wasn't me as at that point I really wanted to finish the whole process. Throughout the trial the jurors spoke very generally about the case. Offering no opinions, just talking about what we saw going on. I had formed an opinion day one, but tried very hard to remain open minded. Almost wanting the plaintiffs to change my mind. They couldn't do it. The burden of proof lied with them, and to me they didn't prove the defendants did wrong. I will agree they maybe didn't make all the right decisions, based on all the information we have today, but given their experience, and information at the the time I felt everything they did was "reasonable". That is all the Utah Code calls for.

So originally there were 77 claims against the two trustees (defendants). Then we were told it was narrowed down to 5 main things they did wrong. We were given a packet of papers that had 29 questions we needed to answer. They were sort of divided into 7 sections, if I remember right. The first question in each section asked if the trustees failed to act according to their duties regarding a certain issue. If we answered NO then we could move on to the next section. If we answered YES then we needed to fill out the rest of the questions in that section. So we ended up not having to answer all 29 questions.

We talked about question #1 for almost 2 hours, getting nowhere. For each question, at least 6 people have to vote the same way (out of 8). We couldn't get 6 so we skipped over it and continued on. The next couple sections were easier. In each case, we never got 6 people to vote the same right away at first. I was stubborn and never changed my vote to a YES on any section. I ended up "loosing" 4 of the sections.

On the sections we voted YES on, we then had to answer if we thought damage was caused and if so, how much restitution should be paid back to the trust. I at least felt better that I was able to persuade others to vote for less money in restitution. So while not happy I "lost" a few sections I was happy the payments were much smaller than what the plaintiffs were seeking.

There were 6 sections based on "economic damages" or more like physical damage. The last was "noneconomical". The pain and suffering claim. The plaintiffs wanted $7M in total for the 6 economic damages. We were left to decide on our own with no real instruction for the pain and suffering. We ended up asking the trustees to pay $1.8M to the trust to cover economical damages. They will split that amount. They both have received close to $3M in fees and property as they were also beneficiaries, so it wont hurt too bad. They should also be able to recoup some costs that they "wrongly" paid to other lawyers.
The big one for me was the pain and suffering. We talked about this for quite a while. Everyone wanted to give them money, but me. I'm glad we talked it over before doing a vote. People wanted to give them anywhere from $50k each up to $100k each. There were 5 plaintiffs. I said if we give any money we should randomly give four of them a million each and the 5th gets nothing. :rofl: In the end I was able to convince the jurors not to give them any money. I took that as a big win.

With everyone wearing masks it was hard to get a feel for how they took the news when the judge read the verdict. Overall I took it as a win for the defense. They just presented their case so much better. We were thanked and excused to our room. We were asked to stay and talk to the judge afterwards and 4 of us did. He came in and spent a few minutes with us talking about the case and how impressed he was with our findings. He then told us the lawyers wanted to meet with us as well. We went back in the court room and actually had a very nice meeting with all of them. It was very casual with lots of laughing and joking. We gave them feedback on what we liked and didn't like about the procedure of the case. I was impressed they all knew and called me by my name, and not "#5". When I finally left if was close to 8pm.

In the end I'm glad for the opportunity and hope I never have to do it again. At least for such a long trial. This was considered a "huge" trial for a Utah state trial. As a rule I have always voted judges out when given the opportunity on a ballot, as I don't like keeping people in. I may have to rethink that a little now. I gained a lot of respect, at least for this one.
 
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