Tampa Bay, Florida – Attorneys representing Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital have requested a retrial nearly two weeks after a jury awarded $261 million in damages against the hospital. The motion for a retrial claims that the jury foreman violated conduct rules by sharing information about the case with his wife, who then posted it on social media. The hospital argues that this could have affected the jury’s decision-making process.
The case gained widespread attention due to its portrayal in a Netflix documentary film. In the trial, the jury found that All Children’s had falsely imprisoned and battered a 10-year-old girl named Maya Kowalski in 2016, contributing to her mother’s suicide. During the trial, the foreman’s wife frequently posted on social media platforms, sharing “inside” information and expressing support for the Kowalski family.
The hospital’s motion alleges that the foreman’s wife had access to attorney discussions with the judge that were meant to be kept private from the jury. It also cites evidence that she met with a social media influencer connected to the Kowalski family and shared details about the case. The motion further claims that the foreman’s wife posted about her husband’s intended questions for witnesses and a note from a fellow juror during deliberations.
The jury was repeatedly reminded not to discuss the case or read media coverage. The hospital’s motion calls for a retrial and an investigation into the foreman’s conduct to identify potential further misconduct. The defense argues that the evidence shows “palpable bias” in favor of the plaintiffs, and that the foreman’s wife obtained information that could only have come from her husband.
The Kowalski family’s attorneys plan to respond to the motion by the court’s deadline. Previously, the hospital’s attorneys had attempted to have the foreman removed from the jury, arguing that his questions to witnesses revealed a preconceived bias. However, the judge ruled against the motion.
In a separate motion, the hospital’s attorneys also claimed that the amount awarded to the Kowalskis for wrongful death damages exceeded what was justified. The Kowalskis sued All Children’s in 2018 over the treatment of Maya Kowalski during her stay at the hospital following an emergency room visit in 2016.
The case has gained significant attention, with a Netflix documentary about it garnering millions of views within weeks. The retrial motion highlights concerns about potential juror misconduct and seeks to address what the hospital sees as an unfair outcome.