Miami, FL— Jurors are set to appear at the Dade County Courthouse Tuesday for an insurance dispute trial, one of the earliest proceedings in a state pilot program to address traditional jury trial shutdowns caused by COVID-19.
Jury selection for the case, involving a dispute over a hurricane-damaged home, began last week via Zoom teleconference and concluded Monday. The jurors selected will hear the case in person, with a range of safeguards implemented, including assigned parking and face covering requirements.
As an early proceeding in the state's remote trial pilot program, the jury’s verdict is non-binding.
According to court documents, People’s Trust Company seeks to enforce a right-of-repair clause in a policy covering Yusem Corchero and Darem Vega’s home, which was damaged by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
The trial will help determine the circuit’s ability to “move jurors through the courthouse and courtroom, manage the proceedings and breaks in a manner conducive to both public safety and justice,” according to an order filed in the case June 23.
The 11th Circuit was one of five circuits selected as part of Florida’s remote jury trial pilot program, an initiative designed to examine how courts can safely hold jury trials during the coronavirus pandemic. Traditional jury trials have been suspended throughout the state since March 13.
This week’s trial comes as coronavirus cases have spiked across Florida recently, with the 11th Circuit's home, Dade County, hit particularly hard. More than 75,000 people across the state have tested positive for coronavirus in the last week alone, with more than 18,000 of those coming from Dade.
According to court documents, People's is represented by Jonathan Sabghir and Cole, Scott & Kissane's Tyler Sanchez. Corchero and Vega are represented by Vargas Gonzalez Hevia Baldwin's Andrew Vargas and Matthew Baldwin.
Openings are set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, and proceedings in the two-day trial, with Judge Beatrice Butchko presiding, can be streamed via the 11th Circuit’s YouTube channel. As of this writing, portions of jury selection are available on-demand on that site as well, though some voir dire sessions have been removed.
Openings CVN will cover the trial via its news page.
Email Arlin Crisco at email@example.com.