Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Mark Trachtenberg talked with Law360 about how some Texas courts have returned to remote hearing because of the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Below is an excerpt:
After participating in three oral arguments via Zoom in recent months, appellate partner Mark Trachtenberg of Haynes and Boone LLP was looking forward to late September, when the First Court of Appeals in Houston planned to return to in-person arguments.
There's something distinct about the solemnity of arguing in a historic courtroom, he said. And as he and other appellate lawyers learned during the pandemic, that solemnity doesn't always translate to the kitchen table.
But as the number of COVID-19 cases reported in Texas has increased — driven by the new delta variant — some courts have pivoted back to remote hearings, and Trachtenberg's case will be coming back to Zoom.
… The First Court of Appeals is among the courts that have decided to hold off on in-person arguments for now. Trachtenberg said the change won't really affect his preparations for the case.
"It's one of the most beautiful courtrooms in the country," he said of the historic building in downtown Houston that houses both the First and Fourteenth Court of Appeals. "There's something to be said about being in that building, appearing before the judges in that really stunning setting. There is a specialness to that setting and environment."
"But that said, I surely understand the court's rationale, and it doesn't affect the substance of my presentation or the outcome of the appeal," Trachtenberg said.