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.