Jan. 26-Roughly one in five jurors summoned for selection in a civil court case on Monday failed to show up, prompting Brunswick Judicial Circuit Judge Roger Lane to order the absentee jurors to explain themselves in court on Friday.
According to the office of Clerk of Superior Court, 180 people were summoned to jury selection in a lawsuit filed by Glynn County residents against Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp. and the J.M. Smith Corp. and their subsidiaries, among others. The lawsuit alleges the companies illegally flooded communities in Georgia with opioids.
Of the 180 summoned for jury selection, 37 failed to show, according to the clerk's office. Anyone so ordered must show up to the Glynn County Courthouse, 701 H St., by 9:30 a.m. Friday for a show-cause hearing.
Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump said his deputies have been working to deliver the orders. Since he took office in 2008, Jump said he's been involved in situations like this four or five times.
"The judge cut an order that we would go out and attempt to serve and inform them they had to be court at 9:30 Friday morning to explain why they didn't show up to court on Monday," Jump said.
It's ultimately up to Lane what happens to them, Jump said.
A citizen can get out of jury duty if he or she has a medical excuse with a doctor's note; is a sole caregiver for a dependent; has long-established vacation or work plans and can provide written documentation; is a full-time student and can provide a copy of a student ID and class schedule; is no longer a resident of Glynn County; or a convicted felon with rights not yet restored.
Absent those excuses, Lane could issue a fine of up to $1,000, a penalty of 20 days in jail or both, per state law.
Those who don't show up Friday could be detained in the Glynn County Detention Center until Monday if the judge so chooses, Jump said.
"This is not an uncommon practice for a judge to do that periodically. Unfortunately, you have to get their attention," Jump said. "We will do the job the judge sets forth."
This is the second attempt at a trial in the opioid lawsuit, Joseph Poppell et al. vs. Cardinal Health Incorporated et al. Lane canceled a trial in July 2022 due to the spiking COVID-19 cases, according to the Superior Court Clerk's office.
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