Sirens & Gavels

Judges look at verdict tossed over racial comments

Spokane attorney Mark Kamitomo, photographed in January 2008, believes he was a victim of racial slurs by jurors who deliberated one of his malpractice cases in Spokane Superior Court.  (Brian Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane attorney Mark Kamitomo, photographed in January 2008, believes he was a victim of racial slurs by jurors who deliberated one of his malpractice cases in Spokane Superior Court. (Brian Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Three state appellate judges were asked Tuesday to reinstate a verdict in favor of a local doctor after five jurors in the original malpractice trial reportedly made derogatory comments about the Japanese heritage of one of the plaintiff’s attorneys.

The case has attracted statewide attention among dozens of minority legal organizations, many of which filed arguments in support of upholding a decision by now-retired Superior Court Judge Robert Austin.

The judge granted a new trial in 2008 after two of the 12 jurors came forward and gave sworn statements about what other jurors said about attorney Mark Kamitomo, who represented the family who sued the physician for malpractice. The doctor appealed Austin’s decision.

Read the rest of Thomas Clouse's story here.

Kamitomo (pictured above in January 2008) spoke of his surprise over the incident in a story you can read here.

Read more about Austin's decision here.




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