Ali A. Ajrouch, Esq.
When Will We See Jury Trials Resume for Auto/No-Fault Cases? | The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz, PLLC
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The unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic continue. Michigan has been hit hard by the virus and it has leadto closing of regular business in many industries. Courthouses are also closed although some judges are still presiding over remote hearings such as settlement conferences, status conference, and in some cases, motions. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz have been working long hours remotely and attending these remote hearings. Personally, I recently had a settlement conference via Zoom with a Macomb County judge and was able to receive some updates as to the prospect of jury trials.
The standard across Michigan is that no jury trials will be conducted until at least July 2020 in Macomb County. Furthermore, Wayne County has stated that we will not see jury trials there until at least September 2020. This seems to be the growing trend across the state. The even bigger news is that these trials will be for imperative cases only, meaning criminal matter that require immediate trials such as capital offenses, i.e. murder, etc. That means it is still unknown when jury trials for civil matters such as auto accident cases will commence. At my settlement conference, the judge and his clerk predicted that we will not see a civil jury trial until 2021. In fact, it was even suggested that we will not have one until late 2021. It is pretty surprising to hear such news.
If the above is true, the question many people with auto accident cases have is “what does that mean for my case?” The answer is “it depends”. The negative aspect of a delay in jury trials is that insurance company defendants are less motivated and incentivized to resolve a matter because it is clear that theywill not have the threat of a jury trial for months. This will be especially true for high exposure cases. Therefore, plaintiffs may want to consider alternative dispute resolutions such as arbitration. Some insurance policies for Uninsured Motorist coverage, for example, mandate arbitration at the request of one or both parties. Nonetheless, some insurance companies do want to move files so as to avoid an overload once the situation normalizes. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz are certainly finding every possible way to ensure our clients get the best recovery in the fastest time and will continue to do so as this pandemic ensues.