Monday, January 3, 2011

Religious Questions and Comments Create "Us v. Them" Mentality Warranting New Trial

Plaintiff's motion for a new trial on indirect infringement and damages was granted based on statements made by defense counsel during trial regarding the Jewish faith of one of plaintiff's owners and its client representative, including references to dietary rules and the trial of Jesus. "[Counsel's comments] impliedly aligns [defense] counsel’s religious preference with that of the jurors and employs an 'us v. them' mentality -- i.e., 'we are Christian and they are Jewish.' When these comments are considered as a whole, the court concludes that the comments prejudiced the jury’s findings regarding indirect infringement and damages. . . . [E]ven though no objections were made to these remarks, the court is convinced that the jury’s verdict is inconsistent with substantial justice. . . ."

Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 2-07-cv-00341 (TXED December 29, 2010, Order) (Everingham, M.J.)

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