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News: COVID-19 US civil trial issues

10 September 2020

Members are advised that some states within the US have resumed civil trials following COVID-19 related judicial emergencies. Each state is proceeding with the resumption of civil trials in different a manner and a summary of current COVID-19 restrictions affecting federal and state courts is available here.

The resumption of civil trials raises critical questions regarding parties’ due process rights in the context of jury selection. Whilst not all civil trials are litigated before a jury and many are indeed litigated before a judge, this is an area which should be closely considered with counsel. Specific issues which may arise include: 

  • Jury composition in view of the disparate impact of COVID-19 on the US population
  • Remote jury pool issues given a lack of universal internet access
  • Jury examination if potential jury members are masked

Matters litigated before a judge may raise similar if not the same issues and should likewise be closely watched. If you have any questions about US litigation or this alert, please contact your usual claims handler for further assistance.​