This month’s Brushstroke touches on arguing wrongful death cases.
On the topic of age in voir dire:
Some people feel that if the sons and daughters are all grown up and have children of their own, they should not be able to sue for money damages in a wrongful death suit. It would be different if they were young at the time, but not if they are grown ups. How many of you feel that way — kind of, enough is enough?
Others feel those relationships do not lose value over time, they may even become more treasured.
Lets call the first one “A,” enough is enough; and the second one “B,” not bothered at all by the age.
Which are you?
For the A’s – Would it be fair to say this is not the right case for you; you really don’t believe in it? You’d try your best to be as fair as you could possibly be, but, under these circumstances, you could not honestly assure the court that you could be completely fair? (Just because you received a jury summons does not mean you have to check your beliefs at the door, you have a right to them.)
Another version would be something like this: If the sons and daughters were grownups with families of their own and the parent was 89, then the loss could not be of much value, no matter what the evidence shows.
Damage Model: (All Time Is Not Equal):
All time is not equal. With young people it is not of great value. They have more time on their hands than they know what to do with. They are anxious for time to move and to grow up. At the other end of the spectrum, as people near the end of the lives, time becomes precious — every day is a treasure, every moment matters. “I’m sorry” gets said with heartfelt meaning. “I love you” gets delivered like vow from heaven. Talks from the recliner take on profound meaning, even if nothing much is said — reminiscing, catching up, it doesn’t matter — it’s all pure joy.
In movies conversations on death-beds are the most moving, tender scenes. Why? Because of the ultimate scarcity of the moment. The less of anything there is the more valuable it is — life is a rarity like no other. It’s not just that way for the elderly loved one. The same is true for the children who know their beloved is slipping away. One more visit, one more phone call, one more hug is worth its weight in gold. For goodness sake, let’s not disrespect the universal truth of just how much time is worth when it is running out; let’s recognize it and honor it.