CPLR § 4106; § 4113(a); and a missing witness

CPLR § 4106 Alternate jurors
CPLR § 4113 Disagreement by jury
(a) Unanimous verdict not required.  A verdict may be rendered by not less than five-sixths of the jurors constituting a jury.

Cornell Univ. v Gordon, 2010 NY Slip Op 06394 (App. Div., 1st, 2010)

Inasmuch as defendant fully consented to -— indeed even proposed -— having the two alternate jurors deliberate and render a verdict with the regular jurors, she has failed to preserve her argument that the court committed reversible error in submitting the case to a jury of eight persons rather than six (see Fader v Planned Parenthood of N.Y. City, 278 AD2d 41 [2000]; see also Sharrow v Dick Corp., 86 NY2d 54, 59-60 [1995]; Waldman v Cohen, 125 AD2d 116, 118-124 [1987]). Also unpreserved, for failure to timely object, is defendant's argument that the 6 to 2 jury votes in favor of plaintiffs were contrary to the requirement of CPLR 4113(a) that a verdict must be rendered by not less than five- sixths of the jurors constituting a jury (see Harvey v B & H Rests., Inc., 40 AD3d 241, 241 [*2][2007]). We note, however, with respect to the merits, that while CPLR 4106 requires that alternate jurors be discharged after the final submission of the case, there was no substitution here of the two alternates for regular jurors after deliberations had begun, the circumstance that invalidated the jury deliberations in Gallegos v Elite Model Mgt. Corp. (28 AD3d 50, 54-55 [2005]), and that all eight jurors deliberated as a group from start to finish and reached a verdict together.

We reject defendant's contention that the court erred in giving a missing witness charge due to her failure to testify. While much of the trial indeed focused on the amount of attorneys' fees that would constitute a reasonable award, an issue about which defendant would not likely have had anything meaningful to contribute, the issue of whether attorneys' fees were properly awardable at all was also submitted for the jury's consideration, an issue that turned, at least in part, on the actions that defendant took to have the remaining plumbing violation removed. As plaintiffs' lay witness testified that defendant was not cooperative in producing the documents necessary to certify removal of the plumbing violation, defendant could be expected to dispute those facts or to explain why she
cannot (see Crowder v Wells & Wells Equip., Inc., 11 AD3d 360, 361 [2004]).

You can find a more detailed analysis here.

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