Palin v. NYT Jurors “Learned of the Court’s” Decision Against Palin Before Rendering the Verdict”

From Judge Rakoff, S.D.N.Y. Today in Palin v. New York Times:

The Court has a standard practice of asking the jury if they have any difficulties understanding the Court’s legal instructions after the verdict is rendered. This will help to improve future cases. Late yesterday, in the course of such an inquiry in this case—in which the jury confirmed that they had fully understood the instructions and had no suggestions regarding jury instructions for future cases—several jurors volunteered to the law clerk that, prior to the rendering of the jury verdict in this case, they had learned of the fact of this Court’s Rule 50 determination on Monday to dismiss the case on legal grounds.

They reported that they were following Court instructions not to allow the media to cover the trial. However, they involuntarily received push notifications from their smartphone that contained the final-line of ruling. These notifications, jurors insisted on repeatedly to the Court’s clerk that they had not affected their decisions or played any part in them.

It is also noted that, when proposing to the parties to make its Rule 50 determination later in the day, but to allow the jury to keep deliberating, so that both the Court of Appeals and the Court of Appeals had the benefit of the Court of Appeals legal decision, none of them objected. A party did not object to the Court’s reconvening later in the day. The Court stated that it was willing to issue a Rule 50 determination at this time. In fact, there was no objection to the procedure.

However, because of its caution, the Court brings these facts to the attention of both parties. Counsel should immediately initiate a telephone conference with the Court if they feel there is relief that can be obtained based upon the above.