One common argument on appeal is that a question or instruction submitted in the jury charge contains error that warrants reversal of the jury’s verdict. Haynes and Boone’s appellate lawyers are especially equipped to collaborate with trial teams to develop charge strategies and preserve jury charge error. In any lawsuit, the last few days of trial are crucial. While members of the trial team focus on witness examination and closing argument, it is helpful to have a set of appellate eyes focused on ensuring that the client’s trial strategy is adequately reflected in the jury charge and that the charge is legally correct or, if not, error is preserved.
Our appellate lawyers have experience in drafting proposed jury charges, crafting questions where there is no pattern jury charge, preparing objections, arguing charge conferences, and asking for reversal on appeal based on a trial court’s charge error. We are leaders in refining and developing new pattern instructions. One of our partners was a member of State Bar Pattern Jury Charge Committees for eight years, including three years as Chair of the Business, Consumer and Employment Committee. Based on our years of specialized experience, we know how to maneuver through informal and formal charge conferences in complex civil litigation, mindful of the complex procedural rules that apply. And we understand the nuances involved in crafting questions to preserve error in multi-theory and multi-party cases, based in part on our extensive publication of articles on the topic, such as the recent article on “Proportionate Responsibility, Joint and Several Liability, and the Jury Charge.”
As important members of the trial team, we have handled the jury charge in cases involving the following substantive areas of the law:
- Breach of contract, breach of oral agreement, and statute of frauds;
- Shareholder oppression;
- Business torts, including breach of fiduciary duty, trade secrets, fraud, conversion, and conspiracy;
- Deceptive Trade Practices Act and breach of warranty;
- Negligence and punitive damages;
- Proportionate responsibility, contributory fault, responsible third parties, and contribution claims;
- Bad faith and insurance code violations;
- Wrongful death and products liability;
- Patent and copy copyright infringement;
- False Claims Act; and
- Wrongful termination, discrimination, and other employment claims.