CASE COMMENT: Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. v. General Electric Co.: Extinguishing the Light on Summary Jury Trials * Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1989 Ohio State Law Journal
Ohio State Law Journal

CASE COMMENT: Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. v. General Electric Co.: Extinguishing the Light on Summary Jury Trials *



* Prior to publication, on Feb. 21, 1989, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in this case sub nom. Cincinnati Post v. General Electric Co., 1989 U.S. LEXIS 620.

Winter, 1989

49 Ohio St. L.J. 1453

Author

Andrew G. Sykes

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

New innovations that help parties find equitable settlement of disputes save countless hours of litigation and countless dollars in legal fees and court costs. But with these innovations come problems never before considered in our judicial system.

In Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. v. General Electric Co., 1 the Sixth Circuit faced a particular problem that has arisen in connection with a seven-year-old innovation known as the summary jury trial. The court considered whether the summary jury trial, a technique designed to help parties settle disputes by means of a mock trial with an advisory jury, could be closed to the press and public under the first amendment.

Proponents of closure argue that no public right of access attaches to this proceeding since it produces only an advisory verdict that helps parties find a realistic settlement agreement. 2 Settlement procedures have traditionally been closed to all but the participants. The procedure has proven successful in simulating an actual trial through the use of a judge or magistrate, an actual courtroom, and a jury selected through a voir dire process. 3 But the very factors that make the technique so valuable a predictor of jury reaction justify a strong argument that the public should have access to the proceeding, as it does in virtually all civil and criminal proceedings.

This Note examines the conflict between the public right of access to judicial proceedings and the need for confidentiality in the summary jury trial. This Note ...
 
 
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