Virtual Jury Trials of Construction Disputes: The Necessary Union of Both Sides of the Brain

Profile of brain inside body

The trial presentation will require a true marriage of the right and left sides of the brain.

May 17, 2021
John Dannecker - Construction Executive

Bart Smith is the Senior Project Manager for Simply Best, a general contracting firm. He has been assigned to serve as the liaison with outside counsel in a lawsuit against Holly’s Harleys, a project owner who contracted with Best for the construction of a motorcycle showroom. Best filed suit in federal court for additional project costs it incurred, which it contends were caused by the specification of incompatible materials by Holly’s design firm.

The coronavirus pandemic is still raging as the trial date approaches. Courthouse facilities are closed so civil trials are conducted using remote technology, if they occur at all. Bart negotiated the prime contract with Holly’s, and he regrettably allowed Best’s binding arbitration and jury trial waiver clauses in the prime contract to be deleted. Bart worries about how the intricacies of Best’s case can be adequately explained to a jury in a remote trial. His concern approaches panic when Best’s trial counsel explains how the trial will be conducted with none of the parties—their attorneys, the judge, the witnesses or the jury—present in the same location.

Reprinted courtesy of John Dannecker, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.



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