Ten years ago at this time I was fast approaching a jury trial, but it seems like yesterday. The business my husband and I owned was sued in an abusive lawsuit. The gory details could fill a CD Rom, but the short story is that the plaintiffs were hoping for a big payday. They wanted to retire early and move to Hawaii on our hard earned money.
We spent tens of thousands of dollars on discovery, motions, depositions and all the other very expensive legal machinations. We could not come to a settlement agreement and the trial date was fast approaching. It was then that I really came to appreciate the importance of juries. The future of my family and our business was at stake.
Our attorney warned us that that it was likely the downtown jury pool in San Diego would produce a jury where few, if any, people understood what it took to start and run a business. After all, most small business owners like us usually got out of jury service.
We settled “on the courthouse steps” as the saying goes. Not because we had a losing lawsuit, but because we didn’t want to roll the dice with the jury pool. I vowed from that day forward I would not make excuses to get out of jury service.
I have since served on two juries, even though during one of them I had a one-year-old baby and a toddler. I made it work. Both trials turned out to be criminal instead of civil, but I was there, bringing all my knowledge and background about small business matters. I’ve met wonderful, committed, people on the juries. Both times I walked out of the courthouse feeling good about serving my community and I look forward to future opportunities.