5 Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Change Business Litigation Forever
The coronavirus pandemic has had a tremendous impact on society, business, and the economy as a whole. The pandemic will change not only our personal hygiene habits but also business litigation.
While not all of the impacts on commercial litigation may be long-lasting, it is evident that the way courts handle business disputes will change in the post-pandemic world.
Businesses Will Rely on Lawyers More
After the COVID-19 pandemic is over, many courts may continue to allow lawyers to present their arguments via video or telephone. However, many judges warned during the coronavirus crisis that they were deciding issues based on written submissions, which is why businesses will begin to hire skilled lawyers who are capable of convincing judges through impeccable writing.
In fact, more businesses will rely on lawyers to submit evidence through affidavits because doing so is a cost-efficient and more convenient alternative to testifying in court.
Location Will No Longer Be an Issue for Business Litigation
In pre-coronavirus business litigation, the location of the company headquarters and witnesses had a dramatic impact on the timeline of lawsuits. A party has a right to invoke the “inconvenient forum” doctrine, but courts may be less inclined to grant the transfer motion after the COVID-19 pandemic.
After all, the coronavirus crisis and court closures showed that technology can allow all participants in litigation to stay connected without having to be present in the same room. The use of video conference technology such as Zoom could speed up lawsuits in the absence of arguments regarding the “inconvenient” forum.
Video Testimony Will Be Acceptable in Courtrooms
Although remote video depositions have been around for years, participants in litigation were less likely to use this technology. In the post-coronavirus world, lawyers and clients will be more likely to use video as an alternative to in-person depositions. Meanwhile, judges and juries will be less critical of video testimony from remote locations, especially if the witness has a justifiable reason for not being present in court. Also, travel costs could be a major factor when considering the acceptability of testifying via video.
More Courts Will Switch to Electronic Filing
While federal courts have used and encouraged Americans to use the electronic filing system for years, many state courts were reluctant to switch to e-filing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many courts allowed people to submit summons, petitions, and other documents by electronic filing. The security, speed, and convenience of e-filing could prompt more courts to expand e-services after the pandemic.
Arbitration Will Become an Increasingly Popular Solution
Even though businesses were no strangers to arbitration in the pre-coronavirus era, more participants in litigation will choose to arbitrate their cases, especially in time-sensitive disputes.
Parties who opt for arbitration pay a neutral third-party arbitrator who has experience in resolving similar commercial disputes. The arbitrator will work out an acceptable date to schedule the hearing, which can be conducted by video. In the post-pandemic world, arbitration can become an increasingly popular solution for parties who want to resolve their disputes from the comfort of their home.
Talk to our West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys if you are trying to resolve a dispute in the post-coronavirus world. Contact Pike & Lustig, LLP, by calling at 561-291-8298 to get a case review.