A little background.
In the criminal justice system – the jury is asked to render their decision based upon the preponderance of the evidence, meaning, they are sure someone committed the crime.
Our civil justice system has a lower burden of proof. the plaintiff must prove that someone was negligent, or owed them money, or breached the contract (or whatever the allegation) more likely than not – or, the greater weight of the evidence, or by 51%.
Years ago, a family filed a lawsuit against an Arkansas nursing home alleging their negligence caused permanent injury to a loved one. This in and of itself is not news. This happens all the time in nursing homes. Patients are permanently injured and or killed because someone fails to provide reasonable care, or worse, intentionally neglects a patient. And when that happens, juries are often asked to decide if the facility was negligent, and if so, how much money is required to either hold the facility accountable, or make the victim whole.
In this one case, the jury found that over $5 million was needed to pay the victim of the nursing home. Way more than what a Virginia jury would be allowed to do – but none the less, a pretty strong verdict that makes the statement – “hey, you injured someone, and now you must be held accountable and pay them back.”
Well, it turns out when the nursing home didn’t like what the jury did – they illegally approached the judge of the case and offered to support his next campaign for judge, if he agreed to reduce the verdict from over $5 million to $1 million. And you know what is worse than the nursing home’s bribery attempts? They worked.
Justice in America – the best system fails even sometimes.