A proposed bill that seeks to remove special interrogatories from the Illinois Civil Code of Procedure may soon become law. Special interrogatories allow the parties in a lawsuit and the judge to get specific details of a jury’s findings, separate from the general verdict. If a jury’s answer to a special interrogatory question is inconsistent with the verdict, one of the parties can move for the judge to override the jury’s verdict.
The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin spoke to Professor Suja Thomas, an expert on juries and civil procedure, about the use of special interrogatories.
“Historically, it was never the case that a judge could say that a jury had to answer special interrogatories or what was called the special verdict,” she said.
“You could have these special interrogatories or a special verdict, but the jury could reject answering them and render a general verdict. The way that the judge could counter that the jury got it wrong was to say, ‘OK, well, we’re gonna have a new trial before another jury.’”
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