Diniero v. United States Lines – Case Brief Summary
Summary of Diniero v. United States Lines, 288 F.2d 595 (2d Cir. 1961).
Diniero (P) was a sailor serving on a ship operated by United States Lines (D). Diniero brought this personal injury lawsuit against United States Lines claiming he had suffered permanent back injuries in the course of his employment. The judge submitted eight written interrogatories to the jury. During deliberations the jury submitted several notes to the judge asking for clarification on the first of the eight questions. The judge unsuccessfully attempted to clarify the question and the jury remained unable to reach a verdict. Four hours later, the jury informed the court that they did not think agreement was possible. The judge withdrew the interrogatories and instead asked the jury if they could reach a general verdict. The jury reached a verdict in favor or Diniero. On appeal the defendant argued that it was an abuse of discretion for the judge to withdraw the interrogatories after they had been submitted to the jury.
Is the withdrawal by the trial judge of written interrogatories after they have been submitted to the jury an abuse of discretion?
Holding and Rule
No. The withdrawal of written interrogatories is not an abuse of discretion under these facts.
Withdrawing all of the questions was not improper because it was an attempt to eliminate confusion and not an attempt to bias the jury.
See Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., Inc. for a law school civil procedure case brief in which the Supreme Court held that litigants in civil lawsuits may not use peremptory challenges to strike jurors based on race.