When does a party have a right to a jury trial?
If both legal and equitable relief is sought, does the right to a jury exist?
Yes, the right to the jury exists but only for the non-equitable claims (claims for damages).
How can a party demand a jury trial?
- File a written demand within 14 days after the last pleading; and
- Properly serve to the other parties
Does a party need to re-demand a jury trial if the case is removed to federal court?
No, as long as the jury trial was properly demanded initially. FRCP 81(c)(3).
Does failure to properly serve and file the demand for a jury trial constitute a waiver of the right?
Yes, a party waives a jury trial unless its demand is properly served and filed.
How many jurors are required to form a jury?
Do jury verdicts need to unanimous?
Yes, must be unanimous and returned by a jury of at least 6 members, unless stipulated otherwise.
Process by which jurors are selected.
What are challenges for cause and how many does each side have?
Used to dismiss a potential juror due to bias; unlimited number per side.
What are peremptory challenges?
Allows a party to dismiss a juror for any reason, as long as the reason is race and gender neutral.
How many peremptory challenges does each party get?
If a peremptory strike gives rise to an inference of racial or gender discrimination, what is the moving party required to do?
Provide a non-discriminatory explanation for the strike or withdraw the strike
What is the deadline for a party to propose jury instructions?
Generally, before the close of all evidence presented to the jury.
However, a party can file after close of evidence if either:
- Instructions are for issues not reasonably anticipated, or
- Court has given permission to untimely file (can propose for any issue)
Can a party object to proposed jury instructions?
Yes, parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to object on the record outside jury's presence before instructions are given. Party must timely state the matter objected to and the grounds for the objection.
When is an objection to a jury instruction considered timely?
An objection is timely if:
- A party objects at the opportunity provided under Rule 51(b)(2); or
- A party was not informed of an instruction or action on a request before that opportunity to object, and the party objects promptly after learning that the instruction or request will be, or has been, given or refused.
Does a party's failure to object to error in jury instructions waive arguments related to the error on appeal?
Allows the jury to decides in favor of P or D without listing specific factual findings.
What is a general verdict with specific interrogatories and what is its purpose?
General verdict that includes specific findings of fact. Purpose is to ensure jury considered important factual issues of the case.
If the general verdict and answers to interrogatories are inconsistent, what actions can the judge take?
- Order a new trial;
- Order the jury to redeliberate; or
- Order an appropriate judgment according to the answers, notwithstanding the general verdict
What does it mean to poll the jury?
Either via request or on its own, court can "poll" the jury to see if there is lack of unanimity or assent amongst the jurors.
After polling the jury, what actions can the judge take if there is a lack of unanimity or assent?
Order a new trial or ask jurors to deliberate further. FRCP 48(c)
What is the deadline for asking to poll the jury?
After a verdict is returned but before the jury is discharged. FRCP 48(c).
What are examples of juror misconduct? What happens if misconduct is found?
- Introducing or using evidence gained outside of trial
- Improperly communicating with outside parties
- Giving dishonest testimony during voir dire
If found, court may order a new trial.
judgment as a matter of law
(also called a "directed verdict" or JMOL)
Ruling entered by judge against a party if a party lacks sufficient evidence to prevail on an issue necessary to a particular claim or defense
What is the evidentiary standard for granting a JMOL?
Court must view evidence in the light most favorable to the opposing party and only grant JMOL if no reasonable person could find for the party.
When can a party file for a judgment as a matter of law?
Both parties: before case is submitted to jury
D: Either after close of P's evidence or after close of all evidence
P: After close of all evidence
renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law (RJMOL)
(also called "judgment notwithstanding the verdict" or JNOV)
If a party loses on a JMOL, they can make a renewed motion for JMOL ("RJMOL") within 28 days after entry of judgment.
⚠️ Note: Party must have properly & timely filed a JMOL to seek an RJMOL.
In ruling on a RJMOL, the court may:
- Allow the verdict to stand;
- Order a new trial; or
- Direct entry of judgment as a matter of law (if reasonable people could not agree that the verdict was correct)
What is the deadline for all post-trial motions? (generally)