United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
MORGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a motion for leave to contact a juror, filed by
Defendant Waypoint NOLA, LLC
(“Waypoint”). The motion is
opposed. For the reasons that follow, the Court
DENIES the motion.
Court conducted a jury trial in this matter from April 15,
2019 to April 17, 2019. The jury found in favor of Plaintiff Team
Contractors, LLC (“Team”). After the jury verdict was
read, the Court's deputy polled the jury. Each juror
stated in open court that he or she agreed with the verdict.
The Court informed the jurors that they should not disclose
any votes on any elements of the verdict form. The Court also
informed the jurors that, in this district, attorneys must
get permission from the Court before contacting a juror. The
Court then excused the jury.
April 22, 2019, counsel for Waypoint informed the Court that
a juror had called her office and left a voicemail stating
she wished to discuss the trial. The Court asked
Waypoint's counsel to refrain from contacting the juror
until the Court instructed the parties on how to proceed. The
Court contacted the juror and determined the juror wished to
tell Waypoint's counsel the trial exhibits on which she
relied during deliberations.
same day, Waypoint filed the instant motion requesting leave
to contact the juror. On April 23, 2019, the Court held a
telephone status conference with counsel for both
parties. Pursuant to the Court's
instructions at the conference, Waypoint filed a supplemental
memorandum in support of its motion,  and Team filed an
47.5 of the Local Civil Rules of this Court provides:
(A) A juror has no obligation to speak to any person about
any case and may refuse all interviews or requests for
(B) Attorneys and parties to an action, or anyone acting on
their behalf, are prohibited from speaking with, examining or
interviewing any juror regarding the proceedings, except with
leave of court. If leave of court is granted, it shall be
conducted only as specifically directed by the court.
(C) No. person may make repeated requests to interview or
question a juror after the juror has expressed a desire not
to be interviewed.
Haeberle v. Texas Int'l Airlines, the Fifth
Circuit explained the policy reasons for limiting contact
with jurors as follows:
Federal courts have generally disfavored post-verdict
interviewing of jurors. We have repeatedly refused to
denigrate jury trials by afterwards ransacking the jurors in
search of some new ground, not previously supported by
evidence, for a new trial. Prohibiting post-verdict
interviews protects the jury from an effort to find grounds
for post-verdict charges of misconduct, reduces the chances
and temptations for tampering with the jury, increases the
certainty of civil trials, and spares the district courts
time-consuming and futile proceedings. We have therefore
uniformly refused to upset the denial of leave to interview
jurors for the purpose of obtaining evidence of improprieties
in the deliberations unless specific evidence of misconduct
was shown by testimony or affidavit.
Haeberle, the court acknowledged that, when a
journalist requests leave to interview jurors, “the
general public's right to receive information about
judicial proceedings” under the First Amendment is
implicated. However, when attorneys seek to
“satisfy their own curiosity and to improve their
techniques of advocacy, ” their interests
“carr[y] far less weight in the first amendment
scale.” The Court held, “The
first-amendment interests of both the disgruntled litigant
and its counsel in interviewing jurors in order to satisfy
their curiosity and improve their advocacy are . . . plainly
outweighed by the jurors' interest in privacy ...