May 19, 2020
And so it begins.
Yesterday, the Collin County District Courthouse in Texas hosted the nation’s (and probably the world’s) first-ever remote jury trial. This was a “summary jury trial,” meaning that the jurors heard a condensed version of the case and then issued a non-binding verdict. Following the trial, the parties are scheduled to enter into mediation today, keeping the jury verdict in mind as they try to reach a settlement.
When will good ol’ jury trials resume? Vermont’s Supreme Court recently announced that there will not be any civil jury trials in the Green Mountain State until at least January of next year. And I suspect that, even in those states that are eager to ignore the medical consensus and race back to business-as-usual, it will be a challenge to convince 100-odd people to sit in a room together for six or seven hours for the jury selection, and then to sit with 13 others for several days during a trial.