Judge allows juror review in Johns Hopkins 'Netflix' case

The judge overseeing a Florida civil case made famous by a Netflix documentary has issued an order for the examination of a juror's conduct during the eight-week trial, the Tampa Bay Times reported Dec. 22. 

Judge Hunter Carroll declared on Dec. 20 attorneys for the St. Petersburg-based hospital are permitted to subpoena juror Paul Lengyel for a hearing Jan. 3. This decision follows the filing of four post-verdict motions by Johns Hopkins attorneys against Mr. Lengyel, citing numerous instances of juror misconduct that they argue justify a new trial.

Mr. Lengyel was a member of the six-person jury that found on Nov. 9 that the hospital had falsely imprisoned and battered 10-year-old Maya Kowalski in 2016. The verdict included findings of inflicting emotional distress on the Kowalski family and contributing to Maya's mother's suicide. The decision garnered international attention, partly due to its portrayal in a Netflix documentary titled "Take Care of Maya," which was released in June. 

The documentary has garnered millions of views.

In response to post-verdict motions filed by hospital attorneys, Mr. Carroll issued an order limiting the interview with Mr. Lengyel to four specific issues. The interview will investigate whether Mr. Lengyel shared case information with his wife, who actively posted about the trial on social media and attended it in person. Additionally, it will explore whether Mr. Lengyel violated instructions by conducting research on the case.

The hearing will also delve into whether Mr. Lengyel failed to disclose his involvement in a Broward County child welfare case on a jury questionnaire, potentially influencing his perspective on the Florida Department of Children and Families, the agency that placed Maya under Johns Hopkins All Children's care.

The juror interview will also address whether Mr. Lengyel provided misleading information to the court when indicating on a jury questionnaire that he had no knowledge of Debra Salisbury, an attorney representing the Kowalski family. The defense contends that Ms. Salisbury had previously represented Mr. Lengyel's wife in a 2007 domestic relations proceeding.

The newspaper said Mr. Lengyel could not be reached for comment. 

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