On Friday afternoon, an 8 person California jury needed less than a hour of deliberations to find in favor of Elon Musk in the defamation lawsuit filed against him by a British cave expert. As you may recall, back in 2018 Mr. Musk labeled Vernon Unsworth "pedo guy" after Mr. Unsworth challenged the motives of Mr. Musk's offer to assist in the rescue of 12 children from a cave in Thailand.
The civil jury verdict came as a surprise to many but, as referenced in this Reuters article, it probably shouldn't be surprising at all. In a civil case, if a lawsuit makes it to a jury, that usually means that a judge has denied motions for summary judgment by one or both parties - in essence, finding that neither party is right as a matter of law. As a result, civil juries are almost exclusively determining cases that are judgment calls. It's not that juries get it wrong - it's simply that predicting how, in this case, eight people will perceive the same facts and testimony is essentially impossible.
Several attorneys said Unsworth appeared to have a strong case, and noted that Musk failed to convince the judge to dismiss it at an early stage. But they cautioned that anything can happen in a courtroom where factors such as the credibility of witnesses and likeability of parties can become important factors.