Kesterson, et al. v. Jarrett, et al.

Appellant, a young child with severe cerebral palsy, was excluded from most of the liability phase of the trial of her and her parents' lawsuit alleging that her condition was caused by appellees' medical malpractice. At issue was whether a party could be denied a right to be present in court during the trial of their case and excluded from the courtroom because her physical and mental condition could evoke undue sympathy from the jury and thereby improperly prejudice the other party. The court concluded that a party could not be excluded from her own trial simply because her physical and mental condition could evoke sympathy, even under these circumstances. Instead, trial courts could and should address the risk of undue sympathy by using jury instructions and other common and time-tested means of ensuring that both parties received a fair trial, without infringing on the parties' right to be present. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment. View "Kesterson, et al. v. Jarrett, et al." on Justia Law