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12 Angry Men is a movie filmed in 1957 about a criminal trial in New York City. The story begins as the jury begins deliberations. They have all the evidence and are prepared to render their verdict. Eleven of the jurors are prepared to convict the defendant. One lone holdout, portrayed by Henry Fonda, begins the long process of convincing the other eleven jurors that the defendant is innocent. He does this by introducing evidence he collected himself outside the purview of the court. While this made for a gripping and effective movie experience, all of us know that Mr. Fonda's character was guilty of juror misconduct. Now, in our ever-increasingly connected world, Mr. Fonda's character would be perfectly at home. Jurors have their cell phones, iPhones and Blackberries, and are prepared to utilize them to gather their own evidence. Mr. James Edwards of the law firm of Hewitt Wolensky LLP addressed this topic at a recent NARTC meeting. He has been gracious enough to allow me to post the text of his remarks below. Please read this and ask your defense counsel to read it. It is an eye-opener.

Jurors Who Tweet, Blog, & Surf – Nobody is LOL !
By James A. Edwards, Esquire, founding member of Hewitt Wolensky LLP and a resident in the Orange County, Florida office.

Introduction: Using a variety of devices, jurors are accessing the internet to gather and share information about the cases they are deciding. Sometimes they surf to find facts; other times they seek better jury instructions on the law. One juror attracted to a handsome witness attempted to “friend” him, during the trial, using Facebook. It can be a single curious juror who does what now comes naturally when the unknown is encountered. At times the internet juror sleuthing takes on more importance than the evidence presented in court. Jurors also share their current jury experiences in real time in almost a “play by play” manner. There have even been instances of jurors polling their fellow internet users on how they should vote. Those jurors who tweet, blog and surf are causing serious problems resulting in mistrials, new trials, reversal on appeal and potential injustice. It is no laughing matter. This article discusses various instances of internet juror “misconduct,” provides background on various internet and social networking sites, and suggests some solutions both for avoiding the problem and dealing with jurors who tweet, surf and blog when they are sitting on your jury.

Did I just hear a juror Tweet?

Civil cases: In Arkansas, a jury trial resulted in a $12.6 million judgment against Stoam Holdings, a building products company. It quickly came to light that a juror, Johnathan Powell, had been posting Twitter messages, known as “tweets,” regarding the trial as the case proceeded. The defendant requested a mistrial, pointing to a few particularly troublesome tweets: “oh and nobody buy Stoam. It’s bad mojo and they’ll probably cease to exist, now that their wallet is 12m lighter.” And, “So, Johnathan, what did you do today? Oh nothing really, I just gave away TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS of somebody else’s money.”

Criminal cases: After 8 weeks of a federal prosecution for alleged criminal irregularities in internet pharmacy sales, the court learned one juror was conducting independent internet research. It seemed to Judge William Zloch that he could solve the problem easily by dismissing the offending juror. However, when the entire panel was questioned, it turned out that eight more jurors were also engaged in surfing the web using their handheld phones, Blackberrys, or i-Phones. A mistrial was declared. Imagine the public and private resources wasted, not to mention the delays caused to other trials. United States vs. Hernandez et al, (Southern District of Florida Case No. 06-600027 (March 2009). This judge later seemed to see a lighter side to the internet, as he compared the difficulty of finding meaningful allegations in a prolix pleading to sifting through the ruins of Pompeii. “Such arduous excavations are better left to the likes of Giuseppe Fiorelli -- Google it,” said Judge Zloch. Carolina Acquisitions v Double Billed, 21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. D712a (S.D. Fla. May 8, 2009).

What were you thinking? Who me?
Recent occurrences suggest that jurors and potential jurors who are really into social networking, blogging and surfing the web have no concept that they are doing anything wrong when they gather and share information via the internet. Thus, the term “juror misconduct” is not interchangeable with “intentional wrongdoing.” In May of this year, Al Roker, the NBC Today Show weatherman, was called for jury duty and began sending out a stream of “tweets” on Twitter.com that started the night before he was to report. Mr. Roker was excited and positive about jury duty. Once at the courthouse, his tweets included photos of his fellow potential jurors taken in the jury assembly room. When some of his 40,000 followers on Twitter.com saw what he was doing, they told him directly that he shouldn’t be doing it. His initial response was that he was doing nothing wrong, and that he had been told only that he couldn’t take photos in the courtroom. Roker later realized the errors of his tweeting, apologized on Twitter and on the Today Show.

Can we be friends?
A criminal trial in the Bronx dealt with an incident known as “Black Sunday” in which several firemen jumped to their death after being trapped in a burning maze of walls that violated building and fire codes. One juror ignored the judge’s instruction that jurors should not try to contact witnesses. Karen Krell, school teacher turned juror, got on her Facebook account, and asked firefighter and key witness, Brendan Cawley, to become her “friend.” He ignored her requests initially, but did respond following conviction of the defendants on manslaughter, rather than more serious charges. Ms. Krell told Cawley they respected his testimony and wanted to let the widows know how badly they felt for the lost firefighters’ families. Brendan notified the prosecutor. Motions were filed, jurors were interviewed, and questions on the outcome remain. Ms. Krell testified about her internet antics only after granted immunity against potential contempt of court charges. See, Juror explains witness contact in Bronx fire trial. July 31, 2009 KATHLEEN KERR,Newsday.com.

So, OMG, what’s the big deal?
A basic premise of conducting jury trials is that the jury’s decision must be based only upon a controlled, limited set of facts presented in court which facts are to be evaluated using specific legal standards set forth in the jury instructions. The rules of evidence recognize that there is a lot of “information” out there, but that only some of that information is relevant and reasonably reliable enough to use for decision making. A second premise underlying the right to a fair trial is the importance of jurors keeping an open mind on the case until all the evidence is in. When the jurors start tweeting, blogging and otherwise sharing their views on the trial, are they bound to form opinions which must then be not only changed, but publicly changed as their posts must be “updated?” Are these tech-savvy jurors threatening the fundamental right to a fair trial by their independent internet activities? Is their over-sharing overstepping the boundaries of proper conduct?

Gathering information
Articles, reports and blogs on a nearly endless variety of topics are available on the internet. Information on a single topic ranges from highly technical to very simple explanations. The information sources also range from peer reviewed journals to highly interactive community bulletin boards. These resources may contradict, confuse or confound the expert testimony already presented in court; none are subjected to Frye or Daubert scrutiny, and they may contain information which has been offered and specifically excluded by the court.

A primer on web-based resources for the internet challenged

To find information on the internet about any topic, you start by using a search engine, such as Google, MSN or AOL, and typing in your search words that describe what you want to find. The search engine will provide a list of specific articles, information on experts, medical topics, engineering concepts, law firm or company web pages, and other sources of information. Search engines lead to a variety of sources including general encyclopedic sites, governmental sites, specialized medical or technical sites, legal terminology resources, and so on.

Assume for the next few minutes that you are involved in a case where plaintiff argues that he has fibromyalgia as a result of trauma, that will make him permanently disabled and require expensive treatment for the rest of his life. Take a tour of what is available when you enter the search term “fibromyalgia” on any search engine, then follow through to several of the thousands of resources identified. See what you can learn in a matter of minutes about the nature of the condition, its causes, the debate over whether it exists, the debate over relation to trauma and the treatments which range from hopeful to promised cures.

By accessing governmental or quasi-governmental web sites, a juror could find out who owns which companies and how is each company doing. Or, maybe a quick look at the company’s web site would be interesting? What could a juror see by accessing the defense or plaintiff lawyer’s web site? A curious juror could look up a party’s convictions, arrests, and police information. Court web pages offer information about a party’s current or prior litigation.

If the medical experts’ testimony was too hard to follow, a quick trip to WebMD.com might seem to be just what the doctor ordered. That site provides a wealth of medical information on injury causation, disease, diagnosis, testing, treatment and prognosis. But, which is relevant, accurate and reliable enough to base a jury’s verdict on? If internet gathering of information is not prohibited, how can the attorneys properly present and argue their cases, when they don’t even know that members of the juror have found their own web-based “expert” whose “testimony” conflicts with everything that has been said in court?

The judge always tells the jury in a sensational case to skip the evening news and not to read newspaper articles dealing with the trial. But, nobody in your trial said there was anything wrong with going on the internet to read archived stories on the newspaper’s web site or the local television’s web page. Regardless of when the news report was first released, it becomes “permanent” if it remains available forever on the web. Reports are often made close in time to events, “breaking news” before the reporters have enough time to really gather facts – accuracy questionable? Some news reports refer to matters specifically excluded from this trial by this judge. Do jurors dream of fame in high profile cases?

Jurors improperly sharing information

Social networking and blogging.

Everybody is familiar with sharing information by sending an e-mail or a text message about a topic. It can be sent to one person or to a group of people on a list. Social networks and blogs allow the sharing of the same information on the internet instantaneously among a huge audience. Here is some information about better known social networking sites.

MySpace was begun in 2003. Each subscriber gets a discreet page or site, with its own URL where he or she can post an almost endless variety of personal information and pictures which can be “shared” or viewed by others. The MySpace web site is searchable to find specific people or those with specific topical posts. The subscriber can employ different security levels to screen who may view posted information. Current “members” are estimated at 150 million.

Facebook was begun in 2004 for use by students at Harvard. Using a free subscription, a user sets up a home page or “wall” which includes chosen information about the user. Others can ask to be treated as the host’s “friend” and if the request is granted, the posts made by the “friend” on the friend’s web site are automatically added to the first user’s “wall.” Thus, by accessing a person’s Facebook page, you can track not only what the user is discussing, often short messages about daily events from going to a ball game to getting really drunk, but also whatever the “friends” are posting. Photographs are often shared. Incredibly personal information is often posted for the “friends” to see. Access to a person’s Facebook wall is controllable by the user choosing various levels of security or clearance for different “friends.” Ask any mother whether she has full access to her daughter’s Facebook, then ask the daughter. All your friends get the “news” as soon as you post it, both on your “wall” and on their own “wall.” Everything you share with your “friends” is then shared with their “friends” and so on. Personal information can be shared far beyond belief. Current frequent or active Facebook users are estimated at 170 million. Recently a story was posted on AOL that Facebook had moved into its new custom decorated headquarters in Palo Alto, California – 150,000 square feet.

Twitter - According to its website, “Twitter is a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: “What are you doing?” The user creates a personal account and profile. Once signed in, you tell the world what you are doing, but your response is limited to 140 characters. Your message is referred to as a “tweet.” Others on Twitter “follow” you and you can “follow” them. You can block others or be blocked from “following.” It is a new status symbol to have a large number of “followers,” and reaching the milestone of 100 or 1,000 “followers” is noteworthy for individuals in Twitterdom. Celebrities such as Al Roker or Ellen DeGeneres have tens or hundreds of thousands of “followers.” Twitter seems to be a favorite mode of jurors to communicate in real time what is going on during their jury service. Photographs can be posted along with comments. Those following a user can also be directed with a link to other websites with more related content from the same user, such as video posted on YouTube.

YouTube - This site’s trademarked catch phrase is “Broadcast Yourself,” and accurately describes what the site is about. Anybody can shoot video, upload it to YouTube, describe it and make it available to the world. Those interested in a certain topic simply enter search terms in the ever present search box, and then choose which videos to view. To help the user, others have “voted” on the video, which may indicate its quality or the frequency with which it has been viewed. Entering a variety of terms related to “jury service,” “jury duty,” and “jury verdict,” returned more than a thousand results ranging from “I have jury duty tomorrow” to “I am on jury duty” to “Jury returns verdict against Westboro Baptist Church.” And of course, some lawyers are kind enough to share their own triumphs on YouTube. Millions of people worldwide visit YouTube daily. Is there something on YouTube about your trial?

LinkedIn - According to its web page, “LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. You can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals.” LinkedIn.com. It boasts 47 million members in more than 200 countries around the world. Many lawyers, judges and legal services professionals are members and communicate with each other through this social/professional network.

Blogs - There are many types of “blogs.” Originally the term “blog” referred to the online equivalent of a single author’s journal in which he or she wrote regarding something of interest to the author. Those blogs can be about certain topics, such as matters of law, cycling, medicine, the author’s fascinating or boring life, etc. Reportedly, a Boston physician being sued for malpractice was a frequent blogger, who decided to blog before trial about defense strategies, his lawyer’s advice, tips from his jury consultant on how to testify and continued his blogging during trial about the plaintiffs’ lawyer and even members of the jury. How fun was that when it turned out Plaintiffs’ counsel had been following the blogs and got to question the blogging baby doctor, in court? (From lawbooks to Facebook: What you need to know about using social networking sites. J.G. Browining, Voir Dire Vol. 16, Issue 1, Spring 2009).

Another type of blog is collection of public opinions which are posted following news stories posted on a newspaper or television web site. We in Orlando see a never ending series of articles about the infamous, Casey Anthony, a/k/a “the Tot Mom,” a young mother accused of killing her three year old daughter, who spent the next month partying instead of reporting her baby to be missing. Most Casey Anthony stories on Orlandosentiennel.com are followed by a number of comments from readers who express their own take on the story, whether the state can prove its case, Casey’s innocence or guilt, etc. Is this what jurors should be looking at during trial?

What do these different modes of gathering and sharing information have to do with jury trials and misconduct? Plenty.

Prior to presentation of evidence
Even before a jury is selected, general problems can arise, such as with Al Roker’s sharing photographs of his fellow jurors taken in the jury assembly room. Roker admits mistake, keeps Tweeting. Gothamist.com. J. Carlson, posted May 29, 2009. WHAT A TWIT: Al Roker Sorry for Twittering Pictures of Manhattan Jurors, NewYorkPost.com, May29, 2009. Publicizing the identity of potential jurors is quite at odds with the growing trend of protecting jurors in notorious or sensational cases, even to the point of identifying jury members only as Juror # 1. There have been claims of intentionally web-posting case-specific information, hoping to reach and influence the jury pool. KevinMD.com suggested in his August 2, 2007 blog that “Someone is posting deposition videos on YouTube in an attempt to sway potential jurors in [a particular] malpractice case.”

In an opinion filed on September 16, 2009, the South Dakota Supreme Court dealt with a problem that occurred when a special, detailed juror questionnaire was mailed out in advance of jury selection in a complex, lengthy product liability case. One potential juror received the list of questions, which instructed them not to research or read anything about the case. Since he knew nothing about the company named in the lawsuit, he decided he would check out the company’s home page. Nobody or nothing said he shouldn’t. However, when questioned during voir dire, he said nothing about his on-line researching. He was selected to serve on the jury, and listened as the plaintiff put on proof of other accidents in which the injured party claimed that a seatbelt manufactured by the defendant had not worked properly. During deliberation, the same juror discussed with one of his fellow jurors the fact that he had looked at the company’s web page, but there was no mention of any other lawsuits. Another juror overheard the conversation and told the “surfer” to keep that to himself. A defense verdict in favor of the manufacturer was overturned, since the court reasoned that the juror should have disclosed his “surfing” during voir dire and further found that although the information wasn’t technically relevant, it was obviously given weight by at least one and maybe more members of the jury. Russo v. Takata Corp. ___SD___ (Supreme Court South Dakota, 2009).

During presentation of evidence
The number of instances of jurors conducting on-line research or investigation of facts, people, and science is growing. Mistrial in U.S. v. Hernandez Federal Internet Pharmacy Trial, InternetDrugLaw.com, posted March 25, 2009. Mistrial by iPhone: Juries’ Web Research Upends Trials, J. Schwartz, NewYorkTimes.com, posted March 18, 2009.

When jurors start writing messages, blogs, and/or tweets during trial, this may encourage jurors to prematurely form opinions, contrary to typical instructions. A mistrial was requested, but denied in the federal corruption trial of former Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Fumo. Mistrial by iPhone, supra. A Ventura County, California jury foreman was held in contempt of court for blogging during a 19 day long trial about the case facts, the judge and for posting photographs of the murder weapon on line. The convicted defendant included the blogging as an appellate issue. Juror held in contempt for blog of murder trial, R. Hernandex, VenturaCountyStar.com, posted January 23, 2008.

Problems during deliberation phase of case
Most of us have all but gasped in amazement when first shown the magic of Google Earth. You looked up your house, and saw your car in the driveway. Admit it. But let’s go to a trial where all the photographs were taken at ground level, and none really shows the overall accident scene very well. Might a juror use GoogleEarth.com to get a real life, detailed satellite photo of the accident or crime scene? If the lawyers don’t know that is taking place, there won’t be any testimony explaining how the satellite photo differs from the scene on the day in question. How can courts keep jurors from using Twitter, Google? themorningcall.com, R. Yates and K. Amerman, posted March 30, 2009. See also, New York PJI 1:10.

What happens when jurors start seeking legal information or advice in lieu of jury instructions? Jurors are going on line to look up “implied consent” and “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Juries raise a digital ruckus, OregonLive.com, posted January 13, 2008. A well meaning New Hampshire juror researched important legal terms, got clear definitions, and shared them with the other jurors; however, the definitions were from California law.

In a drug trafficking case, the jury’s deliberations seemed to be bogged down. The judge was advised by a note from the foreperson that a decision seemed unlikely. The judge told them to try some more. They were deadlocked according to the foreperson’s second note. The judge encouraged them to keep trying. The third note got the judge’s attention: “Your Honor, we have come up against a wall under Chapter 234, Section 26(b)”of the Massachusetts statutes.” The judge had not mentioned it, much less instructed the jury on that statute. The court and counsel were curious as to how that came to the jury’s attention. After questioning the foreperson, the judge learned that one of the other jurors had gotten on the internet to try to find out about the applicable law regarding juries that deadlock. The judge spoke with Juror 14 and told him not to refer to that statute further and not to share the judge’s comments with the other jurors. The defendant was convicted. The trial court had denied the defendant’s motion for mistrial; however, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals sided with the defense. The fact that the juror had done independent legal research and shared it with the other jurors called into question whether the jury was in fact deadlocked, whether they were trying to remove a resistant juror, and otherwise raised concern about the entire process. Commonwealth v. Rodriguez, 63 Mass.App.Ct. 660, 828 N.E.2d 556 (2005).

An alternative to “phone a friend” on Millionaire

Even Ripley would find this hard to believe. A juror serving on a criminal trial involving charges of sexual assault was unsure how to vote during deliberations. She posted a message on her Facebook wall, describing the case and started conducting a poll on how the case should be decided. Before the deliberations ended, somebody alerted the court to her poll and she was excused. British Juror Axed for Disclosure on Facebook, news.cnet.com, posted November 25, 2008.

Possible solutions
Often times, jurors who tweet, blog and surf simply do not know that what they are doing is wrong, and they shouldn’t be expected to. Thus, the “juror misconduct” may be done quite innocently; however, that isn’t always the case. The internet with its Google, WebMD, GoogleEarth, NYTimes.com, Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, and LinkedIn is a part of modern life. It is how people gather and share information. If its use needs to be prohibited or limited to ensure fair and orderly trials, then the jury clerks, judges and lawyers need to say so. There has to be a reasonable balance between allowing the use of cell phones and Blackberries for normal communication while prohibiting improper gathering or sharing of case related information. People need to use their web-capable phones and devices to check on children or spouses during breaks. Jurors need to be able to tell their family members they will be home late, since the trial is running over time. But, jurors have no business using those devices while court is in session, whether during voir dire, witness testimony, or closing argument. During deliberation, those same devices should be, and typically are, collected and held by the bailiff.

Jury instructions advising that internet research is not permitted must be given. There are those who say that mentioning the internet will only encourage jurors to use it during trials. We trust jurors to follow all jury instructions. The record has already been made that failing to specifically instruct against internet activities has resulted in hundreds and probably thousands of wasted court days. For example, Florida’s current standard jury instructions make almost no mention of the internet, but Florida’s jury instruction committees are working on that even now. Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other states are dealing with this, too.

In June of 2009, Michigan adopted a standard instruction embodied in amended Michigan Court Rule 2.511, which goes into detail about prohibited internet activities. The relevant portions are set forth below:

(2) The court shall instruct the jurors that until their jury service is concluded, they shall not
(a) discuss the case with others, including other jurors, except as otherwise authorized by the court;
(b) read or listen to any news reports about the case;
(c) use a computer, cellular phone, or other electronic device with communication capabilities while in attendance at trial or during deliberation. These devices may be used during breaks or recesses but may not be used to obtain or disclose information prohibited in subsection (d) below;
(d) use a computer, cellular phone, or other electronic device with communication capabilities, or any other method, to obtain or disclose information about the case when they are not in court. As used in this subsection, information about the case includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(i) information about a party, witness, attorney, or court officer;
(ii) news accounts of the case;
(iii) information collected through juror research on any topics raised or testimony offered by any witness;
(iv) information collected through juror research on any other topic the juror might think would be helpful in deciding the case. (Emphasis added)

New York has adopted Pattern Jury Instructions 1:10 and 1:11 which forbid gathering or sharing information about the trial and its participants via the internet. These two instructions should be carefully considered by other states and by all trial lawyers, since they not only clearly say what to avoid in terms of internet use, but these instructions explain why it is to be avoided. Given the constantly changing technology, standard instructions may not keep pace with potential problems. Consider using the Michigan or New York instructions. Offer your own cautionary internet instruction drafted by you and approved by opposing counsel and the court. Or, consider using one drafted by Osceola County, Florida Judge John Kest:

I know that most of you have cell phones or other devices that may have internet access. I also suspect that most of you are computer literate – certainly more so than I am. I have cautioned you not to do any independent research and that your verdict must be based on the facts you hear in this courtroom from the witness box and the evidence. Let me extend that caution. You are not to conduct any independent research using computers, your cell phones, or in any other manner. Not the old fashion kind in encyclopedias, or the newer methods of “googling” and “tweeting” on your internet based research tools. Lastly, you have been advised not to discuss this case with anybody except your fellow jurors and then only when you retire at the conclusion of the case to deliberate. Therefore, you must not e-mail or otherwise electronically contact other people about this case nor seek their opinions, advice or even thoughts on the issues before you.

Silence of counsel about surfing jurors is not golden

We all know that if something is going on in the court room, or the jury room, the rule is that you must speak now or forever hold your peace. Some courts refer to this as the contemporaneous objection rule. Other courts refer to this concept in terms of waiving that which you knew of, but failed to bring to the court’s attention in a timely fashion. Still other courts like to describe a lawyer’s delay in raising issues to the trial judge as being just one of many tactical decisions a trial lawyer makes, and then must live with.

If you have reason to believe that some form of juror misconduct is occurring or has occurred, you should strongly consider bringing it to the court’s attention promptly. The law of internet juror misconduct is not fully developed, but other areas are, and the rule is as stated above. You cannot in fairness know that something is going on in cyberspace involving your case and a juror, and keep quiet until the verdict has come down. At least one case suggests that to be the rule. In People v. Fulgham, 2008 WL 4147562 (California Court of Appeals 2008) the court was told that one juror was using her cell phone during trial to send text messages to the extent that she couldn’t possibly be attending to the trial. When the judge brought Juror # 10 before the court for questioning, she admitted to having sent one text message, but denied that it had anything to do with the case itself. The judge offered the prosecution and defense leave to ask follow up questions of Juror # 10, but neither did so. Juror #10 promised to stop texting, and was allowed to remain on the jury. The jury found the defendant guilty, and one of the issues raised on appeal was the texting juror. However, the California Court of Appeals found that error on that issue had not been preserved for appeal or was lacking, as defense counsel chose not to inquire further of the juror and the only testimony on record was that a single text message unrelated to the case had been sent.

Conclusion

The use of the internet by jurors to gather and share information is not becoming an issue. It has been an issue for quite some time. Some of what is going on would be laughable if the consequences weren’t so serious. It already is a problem that is wasting scarce judicial resources and often denying fair trials based only on evidence presented in court. In the new e-shorthand, nobody is LOL about these internet missteps. Being aware that jurors who tweet, blog and surf during trial have caused tremendous problems should encourage the bench and bar to take reasonable proactive steps, right now, to curb improper internet activities by juries. Instruct the jurors early and often to avoid gathering and sharing information on the internet regarding their cases. If any internet juror misconduct is suspected, report it promptly and inquire diligently. If you think that a fair trial has been compromised, then you must make the judgment call along with your client of re-booting by seeking a mistrial and a new trial.

James A. Edwards is a founding member of Hewitt Wolensky LLP and is resident in the Orange County, Florida office. Mr. Edwards’ practice includes railroad and transportation matters, product liability defense, catastrophic personal injury cases, commercial litigation, defamation claims, mediation and appeals. As many of Jim’s clients are multi-national or foreign based, he has experience in successfully asserting jurisdictional challenges. A member of NARTC, Jim is also a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar, Certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a Circuit Civil Mediator, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has been included in Florida Super Lawyers from 2006 to 2009.

He may be reached at jedwards@hwlawonline.com or by calling 407-645-5050.