North Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna Stroud recently recognized Court of Appeals Judge Valerie Zachary, Superior Court Judge Eric Morgan, Superior Court Judge Gale Adams, and Superior Court Judge Greg Horne, all of whom have been certified as Science and Technology Resource Judges for our State by the National Courts and Sciences Institute (NCSI).
“Our courts must address many new issues in cases arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and North Carolina is fortunate to have this specialized training and resources for our judges,” Chief Judge Stroud said. “Our judges must be prepared to manage and decide these cases fairly and impartially, and I encourage all North Carolina’s judges to take advantage of this excellent desk book prepared by our certified judges.”
These judges specialized in “Health Care Outcomes Research Evidence Related to the Case Management and Evidence Adjudication of Issues Emanating from the COVID Pandemic.” Led by Team Coordinator Judge Eric Morgan, who serves on the NCSI Board and was previously certified as a resource judge, the judges have prepared a case-management and evidence-adjudication desk book for use by judges in COVID-19-related litigation.
NCSI is a national organization created to improve our courts’ capacity to handle complex and novel scientific evidence. At the inception of the COVID pandemic, NCSI received funding for a COVID-19 Case and Evidentiary Support Initiative. Twelve jurisdictions were invited to participate, including North Carolina. Over the course of two years, the judges attended training sessions and lectures delivered by medical experts from across the nation.
“The judges were given the scientific training they need to handle issues of virology, epidemiology, immunity formation, treatment modalities and outcomes, and vaccine clinical trials and distribution” as they arise in the context of litigation, NCSI President Zel Fischer explained.
Judges must demonstrate proficiency in the scientific method and complete the program prior to certification. NCSI has planned a final workshop in March 2023.