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Jecker v. Monumental Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

February 24, 2017

STEPHEN J. JECKER, Plaintiff,
v.
MONUMENTAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

         JURY INSTRUCTIONS

         INSTRUCTION NO. 1

         Members of the jury, now it is time for me to instruct you about the law that you must follow in deciding this case.

         I will start by explaining your duties and the general rules that apply in every civil case.

         Then I will explain some rules that you must use in evaluating particular testimony and evidence.

         Then I will explain the elements, or parts, of the claims asserted by the plaintiff against the defendant.

         And last, I will explain the rules that you must follow during your deliberations in the jury room, and the possible verdicts that you may return.

         Please listen very carefully to everything I say.

         You will be given a copy of these instructions.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 2

         You have two main duties as jurors. The first one is to decide what the facts are from the evidence that you saw and heard here in court. Deciding what the facts are is your job, not mine, and nothing that I have said or done during this trial was meant to influence your decision about the facts in any way.

         Your second duty is to take the law that I give you, apply it to the facts, and decide if the plaintiff has proven his case by the preponderance of the evidence. It is my job to instruct you about the law, and you are bound by the oath that you took at the beginning of the trial to follow the instructions that I give you, even if you personally disagree with them. This includes the instructions that I gave you before and during the trial, and these instructions. All the instructions are important, and you should consider them together as a whole.

         Perform these duties fairly. Do not let any bias, sympathy or prejudice that you may feel toward one side or the other influence your decision in any way.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 3

         The term "preponderance of the evidence" is used many times in these instructions and deserves some additional explanation. To establish by a "preponderance of the evidence" means to prove that something is more likely so than it is not so. In other words, a preponderance of the evidence in this case means such evidence as, when considered and compared to that opposed to it, has more convincing force, and produces in your mind a belief that what is sought to be proved is more likely true than not true.

         In determining whether any fact in issue has been proved by a preponderance of the evidence in the case, you may, unless otherwise instructed, consider the testimony of all witnesses regardless of who may have called them, and all exhibits received in evidence, regardless of who may have produced them.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 4

         You must make your decision based only on the evidence that you saw and heard here in court. Do not let rumors, suspicions, or anything else that you may have seen or heard outside of court influence your decision in any way.

         The evidence in this case includes only what the witnesses said while they were testifying under oath and the exhibits that I allowed into evidence.

         Nothing else is evidence. The lawyers' statements and arguments are not evidence. Their questions and objections are not evidence. My legal rulings are not evidence. And my comments and questions are not evidence.

         During the trial I did not let you hear the answers to some of the questions that the lawyers asked. I also ruled that you could not see some of the exhibits that the lawyers wanted you to see. And sometimes I ordered you to disregard things that you saw or heard, or I struck things from the record. You must completely ignore all of these things. Do not even think about them. Do not speculate about what a witness might have said or what an exhibit might have shown. These things are not evidence, and you are bound by your oath not to let them influence your decision in any way.

         Make your decision based only on the evidence, as I have defined it here, and nothing else.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 5

         You should use your common sense in weighing the evidence. Consider it in light of your everyday experience with people and events, and give it whatever weight you believe it deserves. If your experience tells you that certain evidence reasonably leads to a conclusion, you are free to reach that conclusion.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 6

         Now, some of you may have heard the terms "direct evidence" and "circumstantial evidence."

         Direct evidence is simply evidence like the testimony of an eyewitness which, if you believe it, directly proves a fact. If a witness testified that he saw it raining outside, and you believed him, that would be direct evidence that it was raining.

         Circumstantial evidence is simply a chain of circumstances that indirectly proves a fact. If someone walked into the courtroom wearing a raincoat covered with drops of water and carrying a wet umbrella, that would be ...


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