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The appeals court ruling in the State Farm case means that attorneys can ask potential jurors about their financial interests in an insurance company in open court, not only in the jury room. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Providing guidance on the rules for jury selection in trials involving an insurer’s interest, the Georgia Court of Appeals this week reversed a 2015 verdict that was favorable to State Farm.

The decision centers on Georgia’s requirement that jurors must be questioned about their financial or personal interests in any insurance company with money on the line in a trial. In an opinion issued Aug. 15, 2016, Judge John Ellington made clear that litigants have the right to demand that jurors answer the questions in open court with all parties present. A jury administrator screening the pool of potential jurors before dispatching them to courtrooms doesn’t fully satisfy the requirement.

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