The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread effects on every aspect of our lives, not only as Americans but also as human beings living in a global society.
Jurors’ opinions and the verdicts that they deliver have not been spared. The ambiguity surrounding COVID may, according to some, be affecting the decisions juries are and have been making. Depending on who you talk to, attorneys across the country have different opinions as to how the pandemic has affected jurors’ perceptions in civil lawsuits. Some provide opinions as to how the mixed messaging surrounding the science related to the pandemic has resulted in a higher rate of defense verdicts. Not everyone agrees, but regardless, it has shifted the way in which many attorneys (on both sides) are approaching jury trials, and that’s important.
Stuart Ratzan, the founding partner of Miami-based law firm Ratzan Weissman & Boldt, serves as the Chairman of the American Board of Trial Advocates Miami COVID-19 Jury Trial Task Force. The committee was created to get jury trials back into courtrooms amid the pandemic.
Law.com recently published an article where Mr. Ratzan provided his opinions as to how the pandemic didn’t necessarily affect an outcome in one of his recent trials, which delivered a verdict in his client’s favor.
Mr. Ratzan essentially takes the position that jurors are still jurors and areas ever-important as they always have been to our legal system.
“I think people are more conscious of safety and following safety rules for sure, but, bottom line, I think the jurors are given a power that the democratic institution jury trial gives them, and that they exercise it responsibly,” Ratzan said. “There’s nothing to trust or not trust because the power and decision they make is theirs, so they trust themselves, and I think they do that now just as they did before.”
As we, as a nation, come to grips with living amidst a pandemic, the Law.com article is very insightful as to the pandemic’s effects on our society and our legal system.
The injury attorneys at Ratzan Weissman & Boldt cut to the heart of a case only in a way that lawyers who actually try cases can do. Their years of appearing in court and trying cases have taught them a lot about juries. They can quickly lose interest, or become hopelessly confused by medical facts or commercial issues. Ratzan Weissman & Boldt understands how to engage the attention of juries and develop their respect through clear language and innovative communication technology. They know jurors are compassionate, intelligent people with a tough task. Their decisions forever affect peoples’ lives. Ultimately, it isn’t what a doctor, technical expert, or attorney says. It is what the jurors comprehend – and believe.