Civil jury trials will resume in Pennsylvania at some point, possibly in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine. While many envision what a socially distanced trial will look like and how it should proceed, we had the unique experience of actually participating in a five-day civil jury trial in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania that went to verdict in July. The following are some observations from that trial and recommendations for all trial lawyers and the judiciary as we consider trying cases in the COVID-19 era.
Go Big and Be Creative
Most have now adopted the safety provision that requires the wearing of masks while maintaining six feet of distance between persons. This obviously poses a challenge to courts who have smaller courtrooms and, particularly, during jury selection, where it is common to have over 100 people in one room.
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