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Revisiting Alternative Dispute Resolution in Light of COVID-19

The Daily Report

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  • May 11, 2020

John Amabile, Melanie Dubis, and Robert Osborne wrote an article in the Daily Report about how the coronavirus pandemic will change litigation and lead to an increase in alternative dispute resolution. 

"COVID-19 essentially shut down commerce for months," they wrote. "Declarations of judicial emergencies had a particular influence on litigation, halting cases in state courts and impacting how business is done in federal courts. Litigators were forced to become comfortable with remote depositions and video court hearings. In short, how lawyers and clients both approach the resolution of disputes has been interfered with beyond imagination. These changes require parties and attorneys to creatively work together to find alternative methods of resolving disputes."

"Courts have turned to remote audio and video proceedings, with North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley making her state the latest to encourage that on May 1," they continued. "Despite that, once the judicial emergencies are lifted, courts will still be backlogged with cases that were stayed for months. Priority will be given to many matters that are not business disputes. Also, how long will it be before a judge is comfortable selecting six to 12 citizens to be confined to a single room as a jury, let alone 50 or 60 to serve on a voir dire panel? Indeed, in an April 28 seminar, Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton noted it was unlikely that jury trials would be held until it was safe for kids to return to schools and stadiums to be opened. If, as some predict, shelter-in-place decisions come and go until a vaccine is found, the way we have traditionally done business in courts could change for more than a year."  

Subscribers can read the full article here. The Daily Report is the premier source for legal news in metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia.