Trials & Litigation

Potential jurors questioned via Zoom for summary jury trial in Texas

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Potential jurors were questioned in Texas on Monday in what may be the first Zoom jury trial during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The jurors were participating in a summary jury trial, which is part of an alternative dispute resolution procedure, report Law360 and The jurors in the trial hear a case, express their views and state how they would have ruled. The parties then try to mediate a resolution.

Law360 and were able to see the selection process on YouTube. The rest of the trial was private because it was a dispute resolution procedure.

The trial began when a judge acting as an IT expert walked the potential jurors through the Zoom technology. A second judge presided at trial. There were few glitches.

One potential juror had trouble connecting to the Zoom call and wasn’t able to participate. A second potential juror couldn’t figure out how to switch the visual from portrait to landscape. A third took a phone call during a break and didn’t hear the judges telling him to return.

At one point, the judge asked the lawyers in the case to approach the bench. The IT judge was able to make it happen by creating a separate breakout room for them.

The hearing was held in a dispute over insurance coverage for hail damage. Information technology company Virtuwave Holdings was seeking more than $1 million from State Farm Lloyds.

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