As Courts Contend with COVID-19, Virginia Judge Zooms Centripetal and Cisco Toward “Video Trial”

April 26, 2020

Late last week, Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. of the Eastern District of Virginia denied a Cisco motion objecting to the court’s intention to conduct a May 6 bench trial by Zoom videoconference in light of the “ongoing national emergency” in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus. Cisco objected to the planned videoconferencing format in general and to the court’s specific plan to use “Zoomgov” to conduct it. Plaintiff Centripetal Networks opposed Cisco’s motion, arguing that Cisco’s motion is an “attempt to leverage a global pandemic to further delay trial”. In clearing the way for the trial, the court batted away concerns about the security of the trial proceedings, national security more broadly, and the cross-examination of witnesses, ruling that the “protection of intellectual property is of paramount concern and the Court seeks to resolve the matter with a sense of urgency”.

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