BPI pretrial hearing focuses on punitive damages, jury selection - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

BPI pretrial hearing focuses on punitive damages, jury selection; special hearing set for May 5th

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ELK POINT, SD (KTIV) -

Thursday's arguments from both attorneys touched on what information BPI could present to get the punitive damages they're asking.

Those compensation damages are for BPI's lost profit and business.

ABC argued that since BPI is a corporation they could not claim compensation lost and that financial statements needed to be presented to the judge before being presented to the jury. 

The judge agreed that any financial documents will be OK'd at an earlier hearing before presented to a jury.

However, the judge noted under South Dakota law corporations are treated as a person in a case like this.

Also, BPI is asking for the 2016 net worth value of ABC and Jim Avila, the defendants in the case, to weigh as just one financial factor in their total compensation lawsuit which is nearly two billion dollars. 

Thursday the court also decided the mechanics of the trial and jury selection. 

On May 18th a pool of 350 jurors will fill out a questionnaire as the first step of the jury selection process.

From there the clerk of court will scan the documents and send them to the attorneys. 

Both sides will dispute any jurors they believe should be eliminated from the pool. 

Then beginning on May 28th jury selection will begin.

In the end 26 jurors will be called on, each side gets to eliminated 5 jurors which brings the number down to 16 with 4 alternates. 

Finally, the judge also decided the amount of time each side will get in this case.

In just 38 days and 228 hours, with BPI getting 60% of the time that equals to about 137 hours and ABC rough 91.

There will be another hearing on May 5th on which economic experts will be able to present at trial which is set to start June 5th. 

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