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Roundup part two—state instructions on Westlaw

Every month or two I do "roundups" of changes to state jury instructions for states that publish their instructions on the Internet (see the one just below). It is inpossible to do this for states that only post on Westlaw: Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts (civil), Missouri (civil), Minnesota, Nebraska, New York (civil), Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. All I can do is note changes for the calendar year, which I will do right now:

The 2019-2020 revisions to Alabama's civil instructions on Westlaw include "rewritten common counts instructions, new business restrictive covenants instructions, new instructions about damages for loss of income, loss of future earnings, loss of earning capacity, all of which are written or rewritten in Plain Language."

Georgia's civil instructions are labeled "August 2019 4th Edition," and the criminal instructions are collected in an "August 2019 5th Edition." There is no readily apparent way to tell what may have changed in the new edition.

There were hundreds of 2019 changes to the Kansas civil and criminal instructions on Westlaw that can be viewed by using the search term "2019 update" (in quotes as shown).

For Louisiana, use this link to get a list of civil instructions updated in 2019. Criminal instructions updated in 2019 can be viewed by using the search term "2019 update" (in quotes as shown).

Massachusetts civil instructions are on Westlaw. There were 2019 changes to the WRONGFUL DEATH, SPECIAL ISSUES, BUSINESS LITIGATION, PRODUCT LIABILITY, and EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION instructions.

Missouri civil instructions are on Westlaw. The 2019 revisions all involved Chapter 38 (employment discrimination).

The 2019 pocket part to the Minnesota criminal instructions notes the following: "Updated elements for Solicitation of a Juvenile to Commit a Crime; updates to multiple instructions concerning Murder of an Unborn child, Murder in the Second and Third Degree, and Manslaughter; new and expanded Criminal Vehicular Operation/Homicide coverage; Retitled Threat of Violence Instructions; updated instructions for Possession of Firearm by Ineligible Person and Driving While Under the Influence of an Intoxication Substance; new instruction for Restraint of Defendant; and updates to many Comments and Footnotes."

Nebraska civil instructions are on Westlaw. There were hundreds of revisions in 2019 that may be accessed using the query CI("1 Neb. Prac.") & "2019 update". The criminal instructions are also on Westlaw, but I can't discern a graceful way to display just the 2019 revisions.

New York civil instructions are on Westlaw. The Publisher's Introduction to the 2020 edition notes the following changes:

  • New charges and commentary have been added on the topic of General Instruction-Judicial Notice of Facts. These charges cover Judicial Notice of Facts During Trial and After Trial. See PJI 1:79 and 1:79.1.
  • A new charge with commentary has been added to cover Contracts—Damages—Generally—Mitigation. The following charges covering Contracts—Damages—Generally [Supplemental Instruction] have been renumbered. See PJI 4:20.1 through 4:20.5.
  • Completely revised charge and commentary on Res Ipsa Loquitur. See PJI 2:65.
  • Revised charges and commentary covering Employment Discrimination—Hostile Work Environment—Claims Under the New York State Human Rights Law. See PJI 9:5 and 9:5A.
  • Many other updates to commentary and addition of new case cites throughout the publication.

Ohio civil and criminal jury instructions instructions on Westlaw all have the date "May 2019" along with the date of their latest actual revision. Unfortunately, the revision dates are in a format that is not searchable, so there is no way to just list instructions that were revised in 2019.

The Oregon civil criminal jury instruction sets begin with summary pages for 2018 (but not yet 2019) changes.

The Pennsylvania civil criminal instruction sets do not appear to have been updated in 2019.

South Carolina's instructions were last updated in 2016.

Tennessee has a new September 2019 edition of its criminal instructions. The Introduction notes the following:

  • 1.01—Before Voir Dire. This instruction was edited to include information that should be charged to the jury when one of the parties is a self-represented litigant.
  • 4.35, 4.36 and 14.17—Emotional Distress. A new comment was added to these instructions based on the holding in Odom v. Claiborne County, Tennessee, 498 S.W.3d 882, 887 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2016). Odom helps clarify what constitutes “outrageous” conduct for an emotional distress action. The Court found that liability does not extend to mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions, or other trivialities.
  • 14.26—Minor's Damages. A comment was added to clear up the confusion as to whether a minor (as opposed to the parents of a minor) can bring a suit for pretrial medical expenses incurred because of the diagnosis and treatment of injuries alleged to have been incurred because of a defendant’s negligence. The Tennessee Court of Appeals provided some guidance in Blackwell v. Sky High Sports Nashville Operations, LLC, 523 S.W.3d 624, 660 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2017) and which is reflected in the comment.

The criminal instructions are all marked "May 2019," but there is no readily apparent way to identify instructions that were actually updated in 2019.

The Texas civil instructions have a "What's New in the 2019 Edition" page that simply states that the instructions have "been substantially revised since the Third Edition. Case law, Texas Rules, and other statutory references are current through January 1, 2019. Chapters and sections have been reorganized for clarity and ease of use." This suggests that there are no 2019 revisions, and a brief examination of the text appears to confirm that.

The criminal instructionsare dated 2018, with no references to 2019 cases.

Virginia's civil and criminal instructions are all marked "November 2019 Update," but there is no readily apparent way to identify instructions that were actually updated in 2019.

Kentucky. Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire (civil), Rhode Island, and West Virginia are only on Lexis (I don't have Lexis access), and Iowa, Missouri (criminal), Montana (civil), and Wyoming either require state bar access or purchase, so I can't check those. See generally the jury instruction information linked here.

(12/25/19) (permalink)

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