'Tweets' in $12.6M case land juror in hot water
An Arkansas building materials company and its owner have appealed a $12.6-million US verdict against it, alleging that a juror was posting related messages on Twitter.com while hearing the case.
The motion filed Thursday seeking a new trial claims the juror sent eight messages — or "tweets" — to the micro-blogging website via his cellular phone. One read in part: "oh and nobody buy Stoam. Its bad mojo and they'll probably cease to Exist, now that their wallet is 12m lighter."
Another describing what "Juror Jonathan" did today, read: "I just gave away TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS of somebody else's money."
The motion filed by the lawyer for Russell Wright and his company, Stoam Holdings, alleges the juror researched the case and communicated with others outside the jury. Wright did not appear in court when the case was heard in Washington County, Ark., in late February.
The jury awarded the money to Mark Deihl and William Nystrom, who invested in Wright's company. Stoam Holdings claimed its building material, labelled "Stoam," combines the insulation qualities of foam with the strength of steel.
"It was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme," said Deihl's attorney, Greg Brown. "[Bernie] Madoff is a very comparable case."
A new Twitter message posted Friday by a Johnathan Powell of Fayetteville read: "Well, I'm off to see a judge. Hope they don't lock me under the jail, and forget about me for four days."
Powell did not respond to messages for comment. A clerk for the judge said no hearings were scheduled over the matter Friday.