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Civil Procedure II
Santa Clara University School of Law
Russell, Margaret M.

RUSSELL SEMESTER 2
 
 
CIVIL PROCEDURE
 
 
Seventh Amendment-right to jury trial
àa party has a right to a jury trial in cases in lawànot in equity
                this right is protected by the seventh amendment of the constitution
                                -any controversy over $20
                                -either party can request jury
                                -defendants disfavor juries (runaway jury…)
                                -can be as few as 6 members
àwaiving right to a jury trial
                àa party will waive its to a jury if it fails to make a timely demand (10 days from service of pleading)
                àa court may order a jury trial by Motion, or its own initiative if a demand is not made
                àwaiver by contract may be effective if:
                                -it is knowingly and intentionally waived
                                -the party seeking waiver must prove that the contract was both voluntary and informed
                                -courts look at:
                                                -length of the contract
                                                -bargaining power between the parties
                                                -past business relationships
                                                -probabilities that parties understood the waiver of their right to a jury
 
law vs. equity
                traditional legal actions
a.       actions to enforce statutory rights if money is involved
a.       not back payàadministrative
b.       to recover land/ejectment
c.        stockholder’s derivative suit
d.       civil rights action for damages
àat CL cleanup doctrine-if law and equity are combined, both issues go before the judge
àML-when law and equity cases are combined in one action, the decision is made on an issue by issue basis. legal issues go to the jury first, then the equitable issues goto the judge
 
àthe court should err on the side of allowing a jury trial
-complex cases
                -in the spirit of judicial efficacy, historically complex issues that a jury may not be able to understand, did not go to the jury
                                -to minimize the risk of erroneous decisions
                                -gives the court discretion on what is a “complex matter”
                                                potential for misuse as a tool of policy
àdeclaratory relief-allows a decision to prevent an opposing party from filing subsequent suitàcan be either equitable or legal depending upon relief sought
 
APPROACH
                Right to jury trial
1.       what is the role of the constitutional text
a.       the intent of the framers (of the law)
2.       the remedy sought
a.       look at the underlying substantive claim
3.       what is the role of the history
a.       the context of the 7th amendment (1791)
b.       historical analogy
c.        “preserved” right
mixed cases
àlook at issue
àif there are any underlying issues of law between both legal and equitable claims
àjury issues go first
THERE IS NO RIGHT TO JURY TRIAL OF THE ISSUE OF DAMAGES
                                ànarrow reading only applies to civil penalties
                                àcourt can still allow jury to decide
 
JML AND RENEWED JMLàno rK party could hold for the party
Judgment as a Matter of Law (FRCP 50(a))
                A vehicle to prevent erroneous jury decisions
                Must be denied if a party makes out his prima facie case
                A movant can make said motion after opposing party has presented their complete case
                Legal fiction
                                In 1791, there was only a directed verdict, and no JNOV
                                                -by requiring a pre-requisite JML motion for renewed JML it creates the legal fiction that the judge has reserved the directed verdict to the end of the trial
                                -promotes judicial efficacy
                                              

e” can that be proven
                                -procedural errors
                                                -evidence…
                                                -erroneous jury instructions
                                                -misconduct
                                                                -Judges
                                                                -lawyers
                                                -new evidence
                                                                -discovered after trial, materially affect case, and their late discover was not due to lack of diligence
                                                -any procedural errors resulting in passion or prejudice
                                -abuse of discretion
                                material errorsànot harmless errors
                àchoosing between New Trial and JNOV
                                -new trial-“passion and prejudice”- against the clear weight of the evidence
                                -JNOV-impossible for a reasonable jury to decide
                                -if motion for new trial is coupled with a motion for JNOVàthe judge must rule on both
                ànew trial and remittitur
                                -when a party is entitled to a new trial, he has the option of accepting a remittitur- a reduction in judgment instead
                                additur is not permitted in federal courts
                                appealable
                                                permitted in state (as 7th amendment does