Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A failed example of jury trials during Covid

 One federal court in the Eastern District of Texas tried to conduct a jury trial.  13 people now have COVID-19.  From Above the Law:

An Eastern District of Texas breach of contract case between plaintiff ResMan LLC and defendant Karya Property Management LLC and presided over by Amos L. Mazzant II has been sidelined by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, as reported by Law360. How bad is the outbreak? Well, at most recent count 13 people. Yikes:

David O’Toole, clerk for the Eastern District of Texas, told Law360 on Tuesday that the number of trial participants who tested positive for coronavirus had increased from at least seven on Friday to 13 confirmed positives Tuesday. The positive cases include two jurors, at least three members of the defense team, a “handful of folks” on the plaintiff’s team, and three or four court staffers.

The outbreak occurred after testimony in the trial had begun:

Jury selection was held on Nov. 2 and the trial was scheduled to last for two weeks. Jurors heard testimony every day last week and on Nov. 9, according to court records.

After lunch on Nov. 9, the judge advised the jurors and attorneys that a juror who had recently been excused tested positive for the coronavirus.

The judge then suspended the trial and asked participants to get tested and provide the court with results as soon as they were received. The judge advised participants to consult with their physicians about self-quarantining.

As a result there are only five jurors currently willing to continue with the trial, and the defendants aren’t willing to move forward with less than six jurors, so… yeah, Judge Mazzant declared a mistrial.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, the judge doesn't seem to have yeah...'clerk, set the next case and bring in a panel, this docket is backing up!'