Today, Chief Judge Stark posted a public Zoom link for a bench trial starting Tuesday morning:
The bench trial is available to the public by telephone, using dial in: 1−703−552−8058 Code: 944408, or by video, using the following link: https://trialgraphix.zoom.us/j/93843275500, Meeting ID: 938 4327 5500 and Passcode: 974842. Audio or video reproduction of the proceeding is strictly prohibited.
This is a competitor case involving a contract for the delivery of coal—it's the one where the defendant attempted to delay the trial using due process arguments. Trial is scheduled to start Tuesday and run through Friday:
- Tuesday, August 25: 9 am to 5 pm
- Wednesday, August 26: 9 am to 5 pm
- Thursday, August 27: 8:30 am to 10 am and 11 am to 5 pm
- Friday, August 28: 9:30 am to 5 pm
Last week, Chief Judge Stark offered a public Zoom link for a different bench trial, in a patent action. Judge Noreika likewise held an omnibus § 101 hearing via Zoom last week, although she did not post a public link (just a dial-in).
Some of the judges have been using Zoom since the pandemic began. People have complained that some of the other solutions used by the Court, including Skype for Business, are not ideal for many reasons.
Judge Andrews and the other judges have sometimes offered public telephone access for trials and hearings, which is great, but you miss a lot by not being able to follow the demonstratives.
It will be interesting to see whether the other judges follow Chief Judge Stark's lead and post Zoom links for the public.
Update: This trial adjourned early today. The attorneys asked for a sidebar after mentioning that "something out of a John Grisham novel" had happened. I don't know it was, but the trial will resume tomorrow.