Florida Record

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Attorney in slip and fall case disagrees with appeals court's decision to interview juror again

By Charmaine Little | May 1, 2017


DAYTONA BEACH — The attorney for a Florida woman has emphasized that she disagrees with the 5th District Court of Appeal’s opinion in a negligence case. 

The case in question is Westgate Pallace LLC v. Kristen Parr and Thomas Parr. Kristen Parr was at Westgate when she allegedly slipped and fell. She had surgery, including knee replacement screws, as a result of the fall.

The appeals court reversed the Circuit Court for Orange County's decision that Westgate could not get a new trial or interview a specific juror after inconsistencies were found in Juror No. 121’s past about criminal activity and whether the juror had previously been involved in a lawsuit. Still, the appeals court has allowed for Westgate and Parr’s lawyer to interview the juror and receive a new trial. 

“I disagree with it,” the Parrs' attorney, Sage Morris-Webster of Webster Law Group, told the Florida Record of the appeals court’s decision. “A big argument of what the judges said is we can’t have jurors lie to us. The problem is, if we’re going to start reversing all of our verdicts because a few people lied about a criminal past, then our jury system is going to have a lot of issues. We’re going to have a lot of problems and have to redo a lot of cases because of this.”

Webster said that Westgate is acting out and finding something minimal because it did not like the original decision. She said that if either party wanted to find information on the jurors, it’s available online. 

“We could have all found out that she had these priors within the first few days," Webster said. "We could have dismissed her and found an alternate. But now we have to spend a lot of time and energy and go back through. I know that this firm had the resources to be able to do that.”

She said that the juror's criminal past and lawsuits were not related to a slip and fall case such as Kristen Parr’s. 

“This is someone who had convictions 20 years ago on her record," she said. "It looks like it’s drug related with some theft if it’s even her. I just had a problem with that.”

Webster said the judge will give an official order that both parties can move forward with the juror interview. The juror will then get a subpoena for questioning. She said juror might have been confused when answering the initial questions.

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Fifth District Court of Appeal