July 8, 2020

Volume X, Number 190

July 07, 2020

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July 06, 2020

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Los Angeles Employers May Face Even More Juror Hostility After Pandemic

As if there weren’t enough to worry about, Los Angeles employers may face an even tougher challenge to prevail at trial in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic, the trial consulting firm Dispute Dynamics suggests in its latest study.

On May 4th, Dispute Dynamics surveyed Los Angeles County residents and people nationwide, inquiring about their most up-to-date attitudes in the context of being called as a potential juror during/following the pandemic.

Astoundingly, without knowing anything more about the case, 80% of respondents from Los Angeles County said that they would believe an employee over an employer in a dispute, compared to 69% nationally. Before the Coronavirus hit, 66% of Los Angeles County respondents stated that they would believe an employee over an employer.  Obviously, this does not mean that employers can’t ever win jury trials, but it does suggest that there’s a higher-than-ever juror presumption in favor of an employee from the get go.

The survey also found that individuals who were concerned about catching the Coronavirus were more likely to favor a plaintiff-employee than individuals who were not concerned about catching the virus.

On the brighter side, 53% agreed that employers have done “the best they can in a bad situation,” though only 42% agreed that American corporations have tried to act in a socially responsible way during the pandemic.

As we’ve reported before, California has been referred to as one of the nation’s leading “judicial hellholes” for employers.  From strict reopening rules to possibly heightened juror expectations as suggested in this study, the Coronavirus pandemic has not made matters easier for employers during these challenging times.

And, as always, we return to a familiar refrain:  Arbitration, arbitration, arbitration.

Read the full study here.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 139


About this Author

Anthony J Oncidi, Employment Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office. Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection....

Cole Lewis Employment Attorney

Cole Lewis is an associate in the Labor & Employment Department.

Cole graduated from UCLA School of Law, where he worked as a law clerk for Public Counsel of Los Angeles and advocated for benefit recipients in the Department of Public Social Services. He has also previously worked as a summer associate in Proskauer’s Labor & Employment Department.

Prior to law school, Cole received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at Indiana University, where he graduated cum laude.