A Capehart Scatchard Blog

New Jersey Suspends All Jury Trials in Response to Coronavirus

By on March 13, 2020 in Other with 0 Comments

While I typically report on recent cases, I wanted to inform all clients that, as of March 12, 2020, Chief Justice Rabner announced that New Jersey state courts will suspend all new jury trials until further notice to help minimize community exposure to the coronavirus. Jury trials already in progress will continue.

As for nonjury trials, motions, and certain hearings, the courts are working on conducting all such proceedings remotely with only the judges and staff present.

Court vicinages are also taking steps to stagger schedules for landlord/tenant, small claims, and other non-jury court to avoid bringing together large numbers of people in confined areas.

The notice did not address arbitration hearings. Thus, it is not clear how those hearings will be handled. Bearing in mind that the threat of a trial often drives settlements, this stay of jury trials could impact the resolution of cases. Wearing my defense hat for the moment (and at the risk of sounding insensitive to this looming crisis – which is hard to determine if it is hype or real), potentially, it could be used to help negotiate settlements with plaintiff’s counsel who will now know that their case may not be tried any time soon. Whenever this stay is lifted, there will be a backlog of cases to be tried.

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Betsy G. Ramos

About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

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