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New Normal for Civil Cases

Let’s face it: We are a very long way off from a return to civil trials, especially civil jury trials. Until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus and it has been widely administered, citizens will be reluctant to respond to jury summons; and even if they do, most courthouses will not be able to assemble juries while observing social distancing. It is also difficult to see how jurors can share a traditional jury box or retire during recess to a traditional jury room. And when all these issues are finally addressed, the backlog in criminal trials is going to force courts to continue to push back all civil jury trial dates. Indeed, many of these same issues will hamper the ability of courts to conduct a bench trial if the parties were to waive their right to a jury trial.

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