Technology-Enabled Courtrooms Coming to the Commercial Division
December 01, 2018
Tired of printing hundreds of thousands of documents and carrying numerous boxes of documents to court? The New York Commercial Division has heard your cry. The New York Law Journal reported that the Commercial Division courts are committed to utilizing technology to help make litigation efficient and more user friendly. The Commercial Division hopes to utilize innovative and advanced technology to efficiently adjudicate, among others, complex commercial matters. The benefits are bountiful as they will be valuable to lawyers, judges, and jurors.
In October, innovative technology made its debut in Justice Saliann Scarpulla’s courtroom in the New York County Commercial Division. In addition to Justice Scarpulla’s Part Rules, which require all cases be electronically filed and all documents text-searchable, Justice Scarpulla’s courtroom now contains an “86-inch screen to display documents, a podium with a document viewer and a USB port and small screens for attorneys and the judge.” The new 86-inch screen permits attorneys to highlight and mark up documents. It also allows attorneys to scan documents while at the podium during trial, which helps to avoid unnecessary emergencies and courtroom delays. Additionally, in an effort to protect client confidentiality, the courtroom contains a separate USB port for attorneys to use if their documents are highly sensitive so that they cannot be accessed through the court’s Wi-Fi. This new technology also permits attorneys to attend conferences via Skype, thus conserving time and expense.
In addition to the 86-inch display screen, the jury box in the courtroom was expanded and is now wheelchair accessible and offers technological assistance to jurors who are hearing or vision impaired. Similarly, jurors will no longer be inundated with reams of documents, as this new technology permits attorneys to provide jurors with a flash drive to access and review the documents in a more efficient matter. In that regard, Justice Scarpulla stated that “we can promise a juror that they’re not going to be here for six months looking through documents.” All of these technological improvements will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the willingness of people to serve as jurors and significantly impact efficiency in the courtroom.
“We think it’s important to have the right technology to give the business community in New York the sense that we could compete with the best courts in the world,” Justice Scarpulla opined. Justice Scarpulla’s courtroom is the first, of what will hopefully be many New York courtrooms, to utilize this innovative technology that will make New York courts a much more desirable venue to handle complex commercial disputes.
The Commercial Division has initiated other changes that reflect its efforts to increase efficiency through technology. For example, the Commercial Division promulgated Rule 11-e(f), which went into effect on October 1, 2018, encouraging parties to “use the most efficient means to review documents, including electronically stored information.” This new Rule, which addresses the use of technology-assisted review in the discovery process was discussed at length in Kathryn Cole’s blog, titled Important Update for Those Who Practice in the Commercial Division of the NYS Supreme Courts.
As technology pervades the legal profession, it is crucial that practitioners stay current with the changing technological landscape moving forward. Make sure you stay up-to-date with judge’s part rules and changes in the Commercial Division that we are certain to see in the future.
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