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  #51  
Old 12-04-2019, 02:02 PM
Really Not All That Bright is offline
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You need to let this go. Reduction of a jury award on remittatur has nothing to do with whether "the rest of the system thinks it is reasonable." It is generally based on purely mechanical application of statutory factors, or on whether certain evidence should not have been presented to the jury in the first place.
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So what does one call a lawsuit where the strategy is to rely on the sympathetic appeal of the plaintiff? Besides "cynical"?
Smart. I'm a civil defense attorney. I represent (mostly) giant corporations and insurance companies. They are not sympathetic defendants. I take that into account in evaluating my cases. That doesn't mean that the jury can find against them on elements of a case where the evidence is insufficient or non-existent, regardless of sympathy; that just means I'm going to get the judgment reversed, either by the judge or the court of appeal.
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  #52  
Old 12-04-2019, 11:57 PM
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The real purpose of the law is to lay out in mind-numbing detail with centuries of precedent - what the rules are. Sometimes it's not fair (just) but at least in most circumstances you can point to laws and past judgements and determine whether you can or cannot do what you want to do. This is important when years of your life or millions of dollars may be at stake.

I'm just curious how this law works in the USA. I was under then impression - maybe just in Canada - that the defendant could elect judge or jury trial. Why would an unsympathetic defendant who feels the law is on their side not choose a judge trial?
  #53  
Old 12-05-2019, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
The real purpose of the law is to lay out in mind-numbing detail with centuries of precedent - what the rules are. Sometimes it's not fair (just) but at least in most circumstances you can point to laws and past judgements and determine whether you can or cannot do what you want to do. This is important when years of your life or millions of dollars may be at stake.

I'm just curious how this law works in the USA. I was under then impression - maybe just in Canada - that the defendant could elect judge or jury trial. Why would an unsympathetic defendant who feels the law is on their side not choose a judge trial?
In the U.S., either party can request a jury. (Generally).
  #54  
Old 12-09-2019, 11:53 AM
Really Not All That Bright is offline
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I'm just curious how this law works in the USA. I was under then impression - maybe just in Canada - that the defendant could elect judge or jury trial. Why would an unsympathetic defendant who feels the law is on their side not choose a judge trial?
Because it can't. Civil cases in the US are tried to a judge only when both parties agree. The right to trial by jury in U.S. civil cases is a constitutional one which attaches on both sides under the Seventh Amendment, so long as the amount in controversy is more than $20.

Canada has no constitutional provision guaranteeing trial by jury in civil cases; in fact, the judge generally has discretion to order a bench (non-jury) trial.
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Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 12-09-2019 at 11:53 AM.
  #55  
Old 12-09-2019, 12:33 PM
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Because it can't. Civil cases in the US are tried to a judge only when both parties agree. The right to trial by jury in U.S. civil cases is a constitutional one which attaches on both sides under the Seventh Amendment, so long as the amount in controversy is more than $20.

Canada has no constitutional provision guaranteeing trial by jury in civil cases; in fact, the judge generally has discretion to order a bench (non-jury) trial.
See? I learn something new every day. thank you.
  #56  
Old 12-09-2019, 12:59 PM
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In the U.S., either party can request a jury. (Generally).
Is that true for US criminal trials? I know the defendant can always ask for a jury trial, but if the defendant asks for a bench trial, can the prosecutor still demand a jury trial?
  #57  
Old 12-09-2019, 01:16 PM
Really Not All That Bright is offline
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No. The right to a jury trial in criminal cases attaches to the defendant only (absent a quirk of state law).
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Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 12-09-2019 at 01:16 PM.
  #58  
Old 12-09-2019, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Because it can't. Civil cases in the US are tried to a judge only when both parties agree. The right to trial by jury in U.S. civil cases is a constitutional one which attaches on both sides under the Seventh Amendment, so long as the amount in controversy is more than $20.
.


Does this only apply to cases in Federal court? If it applies to state courts, I don’t understand how there can be small claims courts.


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  #59  
Old 12-09-2019, 01:50 PM
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The Seventh Amendment itself only applies in federal case, but every state has essentially the same provision in its state constitution (just with different threshhold numbers). Liebeck was a federal case. I should also note that the 7A only applies to causes of action which required trial by jury at common law, which is why lots of things that didn't exist back then such as workers' compensation do not require jury trials.
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Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 12-09-2019 at 01:53 PM.
  #60  
Old 12-09-2019, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
No. The right to a jury trial in criminal cases attaches to the defendant only (absent a quirk of state law).
This link indicates otherwise
https://www.cato.org/publications/co...-jury-or-judge


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under federal law, prosecutors have the option to accept or reject a jury trial waiver
I know when I practiced criminal law in Washington, the matter was unsettled for state court. (Prosecutors would very rarely want a jury over a judge. Defendants would usually, but not always. want a jury. It would be a fluke to have a case where the defendant wanted a bench trial and the state wanted a jury.)
  #61  
Old 12-09-2019, 02:18 PM
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Hmm. The article doesn't cite any case law. My understanding is that where bench trials are denied, it is because the judge doesn't believe the defendant is making a knowing waiver, not because the state has a right to a jury.
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  #62  
Old 12-09-2019, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Hmm. The article doesn't cite any case law. My understanding is that where bench trials are denied, it is because the judge doesn't believe the defendant is making a knowing waiver, not because the state has a right to a jury.
Well, I found it. It's in the Federal Rules:

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Rule 23. Jury or Nonjury Trial

(a) Jury Trial. If the defendant is entitled to a jury trial, the trial must be by jury unless:

(1) the defendant waives a jury trial in writing;

(2) the government consents; and

(3) the court approves.
  #63  
Old 12-09-2019, 03:07 PM
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Interesting.
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  #64  
Old 12-09-2019, 03:47 PM
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And that's why it's a bad argument for a "frivolous case." It doesn't just mean a case where you disagree with the judgment. It is one where no reasonable person could have sided with the plaintiff.

You want frivolous cases? Try the recent music cases where three notes or having a similar style is enough to infer copyright infringement.

Or, worse, the ones that they have no hope of winning, like all the various SLAPP suits where the point is to punish the person by making them have to pay legal costs, even when the case will be dismissed.
This is exactly right. There are very good arguments to support the outcome in the McDonald's coffee case. If it's a "we agree to disagree" situation, by definition it isn't frivolous.
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