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Judges to Crack Down on Jurors' Use of Social Media During Trial

The federal judiciary recently issued new jury instructions aimed at restricting jurors’ use of electronic tools and social media in particular to research and/or communicate about a case. The instructions will be read to jurors by the judge at the outset of trial and again before deliberations. The instructions include an all-inclusive list of prohibited methods of communication, including cell phones, Blackberries, iPhones, the Internet, e-mails, blogs and websites. The instructions allow for restrictions on newly developed electronic tools and social media, prohibiting “other tools of technology” and “any similar technology of social media,” even if these tools are not specifically identified by the judge. The instructions also mandate that jurors identify and report any other juror who violates the instructions. The aim of the new instructions is to remind jurors that they must decide the case solely on the evidence presented at trial, and not rely on outside influences. By limiting jurors’ exposure to electronic media, the judiciary hopes to curb the influence of inaccurate, inflammatory, and prejudicial comments that can permeate the Internet.

Our Litigation Division represents a broad spectrum of clients in both the private and public sectors. Led by senior litigators Joseph H. Serota, Michael S. Popok, Jamie A. Cole, Daniel L. Abbott, and Matthew H. Mandel, we try cases of front of juries, judges, administrative panels, arbitrators and appellate panels. Two of our trial teams simultaneously tried jury cases to successful conclusions in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Circuit Courts. In one, we obtained a jury verdict in favor of one of the owners of a legendary South Florida restaurant in a $20 million lawsuit involving claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. In the other, we obtained a $5 million settlement midway through the trial of a complex construction matter involving a city’s public library. Few firms in South Florida can claim the breadth of experience and talent to win two high profile cases at the same time. In the event that a verdict must be appealed, we boast a stellar Appellate Practice Group chaired by Edward G. Guedes, who is Board Certified in Appellate Law.

You can read a copy of the Model Instructions here.

Categories: Litigation
Tags: Governmental LitigationJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation LawyersMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara