Virtual Arbitration

virtual arbitration in MassachusettsWhile the world feels locked down, there is certainly concern that justice may be delayed. There is a well-known legal maxim that says “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.” William Penn wrote in a 1693 book “To delay justice is injustice.”

In response to the Covid19 Pandemic, our Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court issued an order postponing jury trials and limiting entry to our courthouses on March 13, 2020.

In fact, DILLER LAW, PC was scheduled to begin a significant trial that week, but that trial has been postponed until August 2020. On April 1, 2020, an order extended those restrictions to our courthouse until May 4.

So how are we dealing with this new world? DILLER LAW is committed to finding new solutions to overcoming the “new normal” in our quarantined society so we can still push justice forward while also respecting the health, safety, and welfare of our lawyers, clients, and community.

Last week, we’re proud to announce that Shaun DeSantis completed one of this State’s first “virtual arbitration” for our client, who was looking for an alternative means of achieving justice in our uncertain society. Arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute is submitted by agreement of the parties to one or more judges who issue a binding decision resolving the outcome of the dispute. Arbitration is generally a more cost-effective alternative to the jury trial.

Arbitration is a less formal trial proceeding generally occurring in a conference room rather than a courtroom.

There are many pros and cons to pursuing arbitration and one should weigh those options carefully before deciding to waive the right to a jury trial in favor of a binding arbitration with a judge.

We can discuss the pros and cons of arbitration at a later time. Now, however, we wanted to congratulate Shaun DeSantis for helping lead our State’s justice system into a new era of dispute resolution, which is not a simple feat.

First, Shaun needed to prepare our witnesses virtually. Obviously, we prefer an “in-person” preparation session, but we used technology to make those preparation sessions feel just as effective.

Second, each of the participations to the arbitration appeared remotely and the arbitration convened in a ZOOM video session. The judge, the lawyers, and the parties appeared virtually in a gallery view. All evidentiary rulings occurred virtually and live. We called live witnesses, introduced evidence virtually, and had an expert testify “live from home”.

Thank you to Dr. Chris Quigley, of the Boston Wellness Group who was willing to navigate this new virtual proceeding and help our client achieve justice. He was able to prepare and testify remotely from the comforts of his home.

We have convened many arbitrations over the years for our clients, but tackling one of the State’s first virtual arbitrations was no small feat. We’re pleased to announce that the arbitration was a success.

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