In only the fourth ever virtual federal jury trial, PCVA partners Darrell Cochran and Tom Vertetis brought an excessive-force suit against the city of Tacoma on behalf of Than Orn who was shot by police leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The jury trial that began in November 2020 was conducted virtually despite push back from the city government claiming the Zoom proceedings set up questions of constitutionality and fairness. Mr. Cochran recently discussed the virtual trial format in the Law360 article, Wash. City Inks $8M Settlement Over Police Shooting.
Complementing the court on its decision to move forward with a virtual trial, Cochran said, “There were a lot of advantages that come from the jury trial including, from a lawyer’s perspective, the ability to have witnesses more readily available with less logistical problems and concerns, [and] having experts simply appear from their own offices where they’ve been working efficiently, rather than having them travel.”
PCVA attorneys have been actively involved in reshaping Washington court practices during the pandemic and this trial illustrates how virtual proceedings can help victims by minimizing delays related to Covid-19. As Cochran said, “We got a chance to try the case which might have dragged out for another year if we didn’t get the opportunity to do the Zoom trial, and particularly with a client like ours who has daily health concerns because of his paralysis and amputation of his legs.”
Read the full article here.