By Kelsey Monaghan
At the first Federal Court Zoom trial in history a Holland America cruise ship passenger was awarded $1.35 million after being hit by an opening door in the hallway of the ship. The passenger, Ms. Margaret Dallo suffered a traumatic brain injury after being knocked to the floor by the door. Although the jury awarded Ms. Dallo 1.69 million dollars in damages, the judge reduced her award to $1.35 million.
Despite the successful result for the plaintiff, the trial went through some glitches. During the remote trial, jurors lost connection to the proceeding. Some jurors weren’t able to join in group discussion during jury deliberation, one of the most crucial stages in the trial. The reduction of the damages award calls into question how effective remote Zoom trials are at protecting the interests of the injured.
As the country has been compelled to adapt to life during a pandemic, New York Courts over have begun and continue to use Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Team Conference for hearings, conferences, mediations and motion and appellate arguments. Recently, Upstate counties and Long Island have begun in-person proceedings. Now, some boroughs of New York City have sought to resume in-person court proceedings, including jury trials. In fact, our office received trial notices scheduling trials in Staten Island for as soon as October 19th. As we endeavor to resume in-person court practices and trials, our office will be taking aggressive steps to ensure that the rights and health of our clients are protected while advancing their cases.
Many questions are not yet answered regarding courtroom procedures and client protection as courts reopen for proceedings, in the ‘new normal.’ Rest assured that our attorneys and support staff will work with courthouse personnel and judges to make sure that our clients’ interests are advocated to the fullest extent possible.
As the world continues to change over these past several months, we have taken progressive measures to help ensure the safety and health of our staff and clients while continuing to provide world class representation. At the Law Offices of Louis Grandelli, P.C., we are available to meet new and existing clients virtually. To set up a free consultation, please call 212-668-8400.