Editor's Note: To protect jurors' identities, trial video will be uploaded and available on demand as soon as possible after each session.
Jacksonville, FL— Jury selection begins in Florida this week for what is believed to be the nation’s first, fully remote civil jury trial intended to produce a binding verdict, with Courtroom View Network streaming the proceedings.
Jury selection in the Florida state court battery case begins over the Zoom video platform Thursday, with trial expected to start next Monday. CVN will stream the proceedings free, on-demand.
The proceeding is part of the Florida Fourth Circuit Court’s involvement in the state's remote jury trial pilot program, addressing court disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Traditional jury trials have been suspended throughout the state since March 13.
Luis Freitas, COO of Courtroom Connect, the parent company of CVN, said the company's expertise plays a key role in streaming the landmark proceeding. “We are excited to draw upon our experience with remote proceedings to help the Court evaluate new possibilities during this time of pandemic,” Freitas said. “Through our media division, Courtroom View Network, we have live streamed hundreds of Florida trials; we look forward to helping with this new approach.”
Fourth Circuit Judge Bruce Anderson will preside over the trial, involving a claim against a Jacksonville-area exotic dance club whose bouncer is accused of injuring a dancer in an altercation. In a statement released by the circuit, Judge Anderson praised key contributions from all corners of the legal community.
“I would like to thank the clerk’s office, court IT staff, the North Florida Chapter of ABOTA [the American Board of Trial Advocates], and the Jacksonville legal community for all of their assistance with this project,” Judge Anderson said. “Everyone involved has been working hard to develop the processes and procedures that will allow us to conduct a smooth and efficient jury trial. I especially appreciate all of our volunteers who served as jurors and attorneys in mock trials to make sure everything was in place to hold this first fully remote civil jury trial.”
Duval County’s Clerk of Courts, Ronnie Fussell, added that support from a broad base of expertise was central to the project. “I am proud of all of the efforts made to pull off this historic trial,” Fussell said. “Our team has been working closely with the Court and ABOTA throughout the entire process. With so many moving parts, collaboration between everyone involved is key and I am happy with the results of their efforts. I look forward to a successful remote jury trial.”
The Fourth Circuit is one of five Florida circuits taking part in the state’s remote jury trial pilot program. Last month, the 11th Circuit held a one-day trial over an insurance coverage dispute. Jurors in that case were selected via Zoom but appeared in the courtroom for trial to render a non-binding verdict.
Jury selection in this case, Griffin v. Albanese Enterprise, Inc., is expected to begin at 8:30 a.m.Thursday and run through the remainder of the week. Trial is expected to open at 9 a.m. Monday.
Viewers can watch proceedings for free on CVN.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The case is Griffin v. Albanese Enterprise, Inc., d/b/a Paradise, 2019-CA-001555.
According to court documents, Sheppard, White, Kachergus & DeMaggio's Matthew Kachergus represents the plaintiff.
Liang Zhao is the named as the representative authorized to receive service for the defendant.