On June 10, the Elman Joseph Law Group was involved in what was believed to be the first time a civil bench trial was held “virtually” in Cook County Circuit Court. The case was American Alliance Casualty Company v. Karen Price-Walker, (18 CH 7429.) The judge was Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond W. Mitchell. The case dealt with a one-count insurance coverage dispute concerning a car crash with an alleged “hit & run” driver.
This “virtual” bench trial is further discussed in the June 23, 2020 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article titled “Cook County’s debut virtual civil trial goes smoothly.”
Anthony Elman, Frederick Joseph III, and Anthony Samples from the Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC worked on the case on behalf of the client, Karen Price-Walker. She was paralyzed because of a car accident. The trial was the first known trial conducted via Zoom in Cook County, done to adapt to the constraints placed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concerning the trial, Anthony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Joseph Law Group, wrote the following:
We had the experience of using Zoom for remote depositions and ADR hearings before this crazy pandemic hit the world. We have found that the Zoom platform is secure and easy to use; it is simple to utilize and adopt – just as easily for legal proceedings as it is for corporate board meetings, religious services, and social remote meetings. Zoom has an amazing feature called “Share” which allows you to display any page on your computer/device as an exhibit while the Zoom trial/hearing is in progress. Private chat features within the Zoom meeting allow you to instantly type your communications to anyone in the Zoom trial/hearing.
The Zoom Trial dealt with quite an interesting set of facts. We literally had to battle an automobile insurance company to win the trial. Winning the trial meant that we recovered the whole insurance policy on behalf of a client. We had the privilege of representing a really nice lady, Karen Price-Walker, who became paralyzed after her motor vehicle lost control on an icy road and fell off of a bridge.
We claimed that she was struck from behind by a hit and run vehicle. American Alliance Insurance claimed that Ms. Price-Walker lost control of her own vehicle while on the icy road. American Alliance Insurance hired Chris Weinbrenner as an Expert Witness in Accident Reconstruction. Mr. Weinbrenner testified that Ms. Price-Walker was NOT struck by a hit and run vehicle, rather that she just lost control of her vehicle on the icy road. We were at a great disadvantage without our own expert witness. My partner, Frederick Joseph III, and I worked with our new 1st year trial attorney, Anthony Samples, in preparing for his 1st trial. Anthony Samples did an outstanding job in arguing Ms. Parker’s position that this was a hit and run accident. Donald “Patrick” Eckler of Pretzel and Stouffer represented American Alliance Insurance Company. Mr. Eckler is a phenomenal attorney and doesn’t miss a beat arguing every defense angle possible.