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updated: 1/21/2014 1:24 PM

Gay juror removed improperly in Abbott antitrust case

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Gay juror removed improperly in Abbott antitrust case

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court has ruled that potential jurors may not be removed from a trial during jury selection solely because of sexual orientation.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion on Tuesday stating that striking someone from a jury pool because he is gay constitutes discrimination.

The ruling came in an antitrust dispute between two rival drug companies and a popular AIDS drug.

A lawyer for Abbott Laboratories used one of his allotted preemptory challenges to remove a potential juror who had referred to a male partner during questioning. The jury that was eventually seated mostly ruled in favor of Abbott.

The 9th Circuit says that because the juror was taken off the case without justification, a new trial must be held.

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