A judge who disagreed with a verdict 12 jurors delivered in a civil case sent them home without pay.
Pittsburgh Common Pleas Judge Silvestri Silvestri sent the panel home Thursday without paying them for five days of jury duty, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said. At least two jurors phoned President Judge Paul Zavarella to complain about the matter, according to the published report.The case concerned a Carnegie Mellon student, Christopher Culver, 21, of Pittsburgh's Shadyside section, who sued another student, Brian Wilson, 20, of Baltimore, Md., over injuries suffered at an April 1987 fraternity party. The pair were wrestling at the party and Culver broke his ankle.
The jury, after hearing the case, decided not to award money damages to Culver, the paper said.
Silvestri asked the jury to reconsider. They did, and agreed to award Culver $1,000 in damages, but split that between the two students judged equally responsible for the injury.
Silvestri became angry at the $1,000 award and said the only way to punish the jurors was not to pay them, the paper said.
"A thousand dollars in the face of $10,514 of unquestioned medical bills and the pain and suffering is an outrage," Silvestri told the paper.
"When a verdict shocks our sense of conscience, of rightness, we're entitled to grant a new trial," Silvestri said, adding that he would grant a new trial if it was requested.
The judge said he told the jurors to take Culver's medical bills into consideration when arriving at a damage figure.
But the jurors did not want to award any money to Culver, juror Philip Wilkin said.
"The feeling of the jury was that both sides had been equally negligent and nobody should get a dime out of this," Wilkin said.