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Shadow juries in Atlantic City



Between ten and thirteen casually-dressed people are sitting in the audience in the Atlantic City Vioxx trial in Judge Higbee's coutroom. They're apparently making $125/day plus lunch to serve as a "shadow jury" who are interviewed over the phone to provide feedback to those who hired them. Neither plaintiffs nor defendants would acknowledge to Newhouse News hiring the focus group (the shadow jurors themselves are not told to avoid slanting them), and Newhouse News would not speculate. (Susan Todd, "When lawyers want to know what the Vioxx jurors are thinking ... the shadow jury knows", Feb. 13 (via Pharmalot)).

But we can speculate: Merck denies hiring the group, and plaintiffs' attorney Mark Lanier merely stated "Don't believe everything you hear." The fact that the focus group is being paid by "Market Research Dallas" suggests (but doesn't guarantee) involvement by Dallas-based attorney Lisa Blue, who consulted with Mark Lanier in the Ernst trial and came up with the successful idea that Lanier hint to the jurors the possibility of appearing on Oprah if they returned a big verdict.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.