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The Court considered three consolidated appeals from a district court judgment, pursuant to a jury verdict, and post-judgment orders awarding costs and denying a new trial in a personal injury action. While the Court addressed numerous issues, the following three questions comprised the bulk of the consolidated appeals: (1) whether an attorney may ask prospective jurors questions concerning a specific verdict amount to determine potential bias or prejudice; (2) whether repeatedly asking questions about that specific amount results in jury indoctrination warranting a mistrial; and (3) when a district court abuses its discretion in dismissing jurors for cause under Jitnan v. Oliver.

The Court determined that a party may use specific verdict amounts when conducting voir dire so long as the questioning is kept within reasonable limits. The questioning used in the current case did not amount to jury indoctrination warranting a mistrial. The district court, however, did abuse its discretion by dismissing for cause five jurors because their statements, when taken as a whole—the standard set forth in Jitnan—indicated that they could be impartial and follow the law and jury instructions. The district court also abused its discretion by excluding evidence of the medical lien’s existence to prove bias in Seastrand’s medical providers. However, the Court determined that both errors were harmless.

Finally, the Court determined that the district court abused its discretion by awarding respondent Seastrand expert witness fess in excess of $1,500 per expert because it did not state a basis for its award. The Court reversed and remanded this portion of the consolidated appeals, instructing the district court to redetermine the amount of expert fess or, if awarding fees in excess of $1,500 per witness, to explain the reasoning behind its decision.