Being that we cannot attend trials in person due to the coronavirus, lawyers and judges must resort to using zoom as their virtual courtroom during the pandemic. With everyone in their homes and using their own personal computers, it makes it harder to conduct trial in the same manner as you would in a court room. An incident occurred in a California case where the plaintiff, Ronald Wilgenbusch, chatted with jurors during a break in the virtual trial. Judge Brad Seligman of Alameda County, refused to grant a mistrial after questioning the two jurors that took part in the conversation with Wilgenbusch. The conversation began with two jurors chatting about their virtual background on the Zoom website which lead Wilgenbusch to ask how it was done. Wilgenbusch explained what type of commuter he had and showed various backgrounds to the jurors while on break. The defendant, Metaclad Insulation, argued that Wilgenbusch “intentionally and subtly created juror empathy” by asking for help but Judge Seligman denied the motion citing, “the communication did not touch on any issue in the case, nor was it the result of the plaintiff affirmatively seeking out jurors or attempting to influence them”. For future zoom trials, Seligman will require all jurors to be placed in a waiting room during a break where they cannot see or talk to anyone else on the zoom.
On Thursday, July 9, 2020, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County held a jury trial in a homeowner’s property damage insurance dispute via Zoom and YouTube. Five different judicial circuits in Florida were selected to test the use of remote video appearance technology as a pilot program and Miami-Dade was one of them. This pilot program has been set in place in attempt to figure out how safe and effective a jury trial will work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The jury was present in the courtroom and took all safety precautions such as wearing a mask and sitting socially distant from each other but were all able to hear counsel and witnesses. There were a few technical difficulties but overall it was a success.
The attorneys at Fair Claims Law aggressively represents its clients in pursuing their insurance claims with the goal of recovering the benefits owed to them under their property insurance policy. Fair Claims Law’s attorneys have handled nearly every kind of loss ranging from windstorm, water losses, fires, and many others. The lawyers at Fair Claims Law strive to provide excellent customer service and take pride in achieving their goals.
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