October 13, 2020
HLG Trial Attorneys Harvey Lancaster and Kristina Anderson successfully tried an in-person jury trial in Cass County, Indiana. This is the second case Hensley Legal Group, PC has tried during the pandemic. The Court was live streamed as trials are still closed to the public.
Our attorneys followed safety precautions as put forth by the Court. The Court was not open to the public but the trial was live streamed for transparency. Cass County Circuit and District courts have held hearings via Zoom throughout the pandemic, but this was one of the first in-person trials since the state has begun reopening.
Jury selection was altered for social distancing. Only 18 prospective jurors were allowed in the Court at a time, and as jurors were struck new jurors were added one at a time. During the trial jurors were provided with gloves for handling physical evidence.
Masks were also required for the duration of the trial, with one exception. The opposing counsel requested to remove their mask, which the Honorable Judge Lisa Swaim allowed after asking the jury for permission. This was also Judge Swaim’s first jury trial.
Though jury selection took longer than normal, the trial lasted only two days. The trial issue was the amount of money owed the plaintiff, by his underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage carrier. The plaintiff suffered a long-term injury in a car accident that was not his fault, and he had exhausted his UIM coverage after the at-fault driver settled. After a short deliberation of just under two hours, the plaintiff, with the assistance of Harvey Lancaster and Kristina Anderson, attained a verdict of $237,000.
Live streaming a trial was a new experience, and a welcome one for HLG colleagues who were usually not able to attend trial. “It was really interesting not having to text [my colleagues] at the office because they were already watching the trial and knew what was happening,” said Ms. Anderson. Live streaming services like Zoom have made legal proceedings accessible to vulnerable populations while minimizing the risk to our attorneys and clients. As long as we can safely try cases, Hensley Legal Group will continue to take cases to trial to fight for what our clients deserve.