S.B. 241 is a Senate Bill that authorizes the use of remote technology in civil proceedings.
This may not seem revolutionary after 18 + months of Zoom proceedings (and one memorable cat lawyer) but until now these measures were necessary for safety and not thought to persist post-pandemic.
Now with SB 241, the CA supreme court states that “All 58 California superior courts can remotely hold proceedings in at least one case type and 39 courts in most or all case types…” per https://news.bloomberglaw.com/
The ability to hear more cases, as well as the ability for lawyers and plaintiffs and defendants to be present at their hearings regardless of travel issues, health issues, mobility concerns, or budgetary problems that prevent travel or at least make it prohibitively expensive, are also helped by SB 241.
Los Angeles County Superior Court averages 5,000 remote proceedings daily, clearing dockets and speeding justice from thousands of people who may otherwise have had to wait months for proceedings to be heard by the court.
Why continue to hear cases remotely?
With the uptick in employment law cases since the mandate for vaccines was introduced by many ALEs and government employers moving rapidly through cases will continue to be of utmost priority for CA civil courts.
Allowing for remote proceedings can not only speed the trial’s conclusion but keep costs down for attorneys and clients, saving both time and money.
The downsides of video trials cannot be ignored.
Video hides tell-tale signs a jury might pick up on like nuanced body language or facial expressions. As we all know from these months o Zoom – there is also the risk of Zoom fatigue. Thousands of Zoom trials could numb even the most caring heart or even-handed mind to the plight of yet another case on a video screen.
The veracity of testimony is crucial to outcomes in many employment law cases and remote video conferencing will never offer the kind of firsthand experience that in-person arguments provide.
The question is efficiency vs specificity, as it is so often. Faster isn’t always better, but on the other hand, “done” is beautiful.
What do you think about remote trials? Email us if you want to do a video on the pros and cons with Ajay, Jake, or Chris, and let’s argue this out… we can even record it over Zoom.