Whether or not a plaintiff’s damages have been foreseeable is commonly the important thing dispute in a lawsuit. The plaintiff argues the defendant ought to have foreseen and ready for the dangerous occasion; in response, the defendant insists no affordable individual might have foreseen the necessity to guard in opposition to the occasion. These two competing arguments will come up many times in post-COVID-19 litigation.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, IMS has been conducting analysis, together with focus teams with mock jurors throughout three U.S. venues, to assist shoppers achieve a transparent view of the context surrounding their instances and jurors’ attitudes. In our analysis, we discovered that jurors’ responses to this dilemma have been practically evenly cut up, 51% agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic was an unforeseeable, worldwide tragedy that has caught everybody abruptly — in comparison with 49% who disagreed with these conclusions.
In our focus teams, a big share of the mock jurors used the acquainted idea of “preparedness” to guage the authorized aspect of foreseeability. Jurors anticipate folks to organize for occurrences that may moderately be anticipated to happen. The query for mock jurors then grew to become whether or not folks might moderately have anticipated and ready for this pandemic. The overwhelming majority of mock jurors in our research believed there is no such thing as a historic equal to the COVID-19 expertise.
This lack of precedent led to intensive discussions revolving round 4 questions:
(1) How does one assess foreseeability and a defendant’s obligation to organize for an occasion if members of society haven’t beforehand skilled such an occasion?
(2) Can an individual or enterprise be culpable for accidents brought on by an unprecedented occasion?
(3) Is the unprecedented nature of the occasion irrelevant as a result of sure defendants have an obligation to at all times be ready for sure varieties of occasions?
(4) Does a bigger or extra refined celebration have a larger obligation to organize for surprising or unprecedented conditions?
The Letter of the Legislation Amid COVID-19: Has the Pandemic Modified the Manner Juries Use Logic and Checklists to Make Choices?
On COVID Time: Why Timelines Are Extra Essential Than Ever
How Will the Idea of ‘Private Duty’ Affect the Attitudes of Jurors?
Learn extra on the research right here.
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