Jurors insured by Defendant
In a bad faith case, should the Court remove jurors for cause that are members, insured by and thus part owners of the mutual insurance company that is the defendant?
Answer: The court should remove the juror for cause. Take a look at Rogers v. Dickerson, 1937 OK 97, 71 P.2d 729, 731: The ninth proposition complains of the court permitting attorney for plaintiff to inquire in the voir dire if the jurors were interested in insurance companies that wrote liability insurance. The rule of law: "In a suit for personal injuries, after the jury has been sworn and placed in the jury box, no references should be made to whether or not the defendant carried insurance, and if such references are made, it is reversible error, although the trial court instructs the jury not to consider the same," quoted by plaintiff is entirely correct, but this rule of law does not prohibit a party to an action from inquiring on voir dire into the interests that a juror may have in the particular case. In the case at bar this court is of the opinion that such a question was proper for the protection of his client and yet did not give the jury notice that the defendant was protected with insurance, for the reason that had the jurors been interested in an insurance company that carried liability insurance for the defendant at that time they would have had a monetary interest in the case and would not have been qualified as jurors. See 35 C. J. 314, § 326, and notes;Putnam v. Pacific Monthly Co., 68 Or. 36, 130 P. 986, 136 P. 835, 45 L.R.A.(N.S.) 338, L.R.A. 1915F, 782, Ann.Cas. 1915C, 256; andLouis Pizitz Dry Goods Co. v. Cusimano, 206 Ala. 689, 91 So. 779;Harris v. Elliott (Okl.Sup.) 61 P.(2d) 1089;andGreen Const. Co. v. Lampe, 174 Okl. 351, 50 P.(2d) 286.
There's a good annotation on the subject at 9 A.L.R.5th102 "Prospective juror's connection with insurance company as a ground for challenge for cause."
Posted on Thu, February 14, 2013
by Travis Law Office