Duren et al v. E I duPont de Nemours and Company et al

Filing 128

ORDER re voir dire questions. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 7/5/12. (kpr)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS WESTERN DIVISION JAMES DUREN; ANN DUREN; J.J.'S TRUCK STOP, INC.; and AL'S TRUCK STOP OF MALVERN, INC. v. PLAINTIFFS No. 4:09-cv-713-DPM E:I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS AND COMPANY DEFENDANT ORDER DuPont has asked the Court to ask twenty-two questions during voir dire. Document No. 125. The Court will ask these questions, either as proposed or as modified to be clearer or fairer or both: 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, & 20. The Court will not ask proposed questions 4, 6, 18, 21, & 22 because the issue will be covered in another question the Court will ask. The Court will not ask proposed questions 5 or 8: these are the kind of "commitment" questions that the Court instructed counsel not to ask. The Court will repeatedly instruct the jury throughout the trial to keep an open mind. And the Court will instruct on the burden of proof at least twice. Questions 1, 2, & 3 deserve comment. Each contains several sentences of explanation before finally getting down to the question. This back story necessarily shades into advocacy and issue framing. This is one of the things the Court cautioned against at the pretrial: starting to try the case in voir dire. Counsel must avoid doing this in their questioning. Don't explain. Just ask questions. Otherwise the Court will intervene. The Court will ask modified versions of the questions proposed in the last sentence of 1, 2, & 3. So Ordered. 5 July 2012 -2-

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