Jurors given incorrect instruction even after judge agreed to change it
Lawyers representing a former American Airlines flight attendant in her sexual assault case against the airline are asking for a new trial after learning jurors in the case were given an instruction the judge had agreed to remove from the jury charge.
Last week, a jury found a celebrity chef hired by American did in fact sexually assault Kimberly Goesling, but failed to assign any responsibility for the attack to the airline.
But in reviewing the jury’s verdict form, Ms. Goesling’s attorneys noticed one of the questions the jury had to answer included a line the plaintiff’s lawyers had objected to in court, and which the court had agreed to remove.
“This isn’t a legal technicality. This is the court giving the jurors an instruction that does not follow the law,” says attorney Rob Miller of Miller Bryant LLP in Dallas. “That’s crucial because after the verdict, we spoke with some of the jurors and the portion we’re talking about is what tripped them up.”
Mr. Miller’s motion asks that the court set aside the verdict and order a new trial in the case. To review a copy of the motion, click here.
The trial just concluded included testimony from Ms. Goesling, who described her treatment by the airline after she reported the 2018 assault, which occurred in her hotel room in Germany. She told the jurors about being attacked by a celebrity chef whom American hired without conducting a background check. Evidence in the case showed the airline continued to employ him even after learning of prior allegations against him for alcohol abuse and inappropriate conduct around women.
She first publicly told the story of what happened to her – and American’s role in it – in a 2021 Facebook and Instagram video. Ms. Goesling retired from the airline in December 2021. Visit metooaa.com for more information.