Jury in Sean Dunne case having difficulty over verdict, judge told

Jurors instructed by judge to continue deliberating on multiple counts in the case

The jury in bankrupt developer Sean Dunne and his wife Gayle Killilea's American civil trial, now in its second day of deliberations, sent a note to the judge on Friday morning indicating they were having difficulty reaching a verdict on some of the multiple counts in the complex case.

“If we can’t come to agreement on individual counts, do we continue with others?” read the note to US district court Judge Jeffrey A Meyer.

Judge Meyer convened a short session in which he consulted with lawyers in the case. He then called the jury into the courtroom and instructed them to keep deliberating on all counts.

“You are still early in deliberations, and you should continue deliberating with respect to all counts even if you can’t come to agreement on individual counts,” Meyer told the 10 jurors. “If you are having difficulty on individual counts, go on to others.”


The judge then sent the jury back to work.

Evade creditors

The jury deliberating at the court in New Haven, Connecticut, is considering whether to grant the plaintiff's request to claw back into Mr Dunne's bankruptcy estate tens of millions of dollars in assets he alleges Mr Dunne transferred to Ms Killilea to evade creditors.

Mr Dunne and Ms Killilea deny the allegations, saying he made the wealth transfers to assure her independence and provide for their children.

Before the jury entered the courtroom, Brian Spears, Mr Dunne’s lawyer, suggested the judge consider issuing an “Allen instruction” in which a judge urges a deadlocked jury not to give up and keep deliberating.

Judge Meyer said it was too early in the process. “They’ve been at it for a day,” he said. “It’s immensely complex.”

Shortly after lunch, the jury sent out a second note to the judge asking for the numbers of exhibits relating to several bank transfers the plaintiff alleges were fraudulent. Judge Meyer called another short court session in which he read off the numbers to jurors, who then returned to their room.

At about 2.30pm, another note emerged from the jury room, this one asking if Mr Dunne’s ex-wife was a creditor under the allegations filed by the plaintiff, Richard Coan, the trustee in Dunne’s bankruptcy case. During a short session, the judge told jurors that was for them to decide.

Mr Dunne and Ms Killilea attended at the court buildings on Friday while the jury deliberated.