The issues are complex in any mass tort trial, but in a Jackson, Miss., state court, the parties have wrestled with an additional problem: the technology to be used at trial. “The defendants wanted me to order that parties share equipment and technicians–but the plaintiffs wanted their own technician because they wanted to work with him separately,” says circuit Judge James E. Graves Jr. “The technology itself has become a substantive issue in the trial.”

Although high-tech trials are no longer a novelty–the glitch-filled People v. O.J. Simpson criminal trial probably set the low standard for trial technology, and the Exxon Valdez oil spillage trial, in which the parties did share a technician and equipment, was a high point–litigation technology is still far from tried and true.

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