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Senate Bill would Increase Threshold for Demanding Jury Trial

March 15, 2019 By Mark A. Kohl

Any civil Defendant presently is entitled to demand a jury trial if they have been sued for more than $15,000. If the case is pending in District Court, it will be transferred to Circuit Court. Discovery in Circuit Court cases is longer, there are more tools (such as depositions, document production, and medical examinations) available, trials generally take days instead of hours, and the facts and amount of judgment (if any) are decided by jurors (rather than judges).

The proposed Senate Bill 775 would raise the threshold for demanding a jury from $15,000 to $30,000. If enacted (and the necessary constitutional amendments are passed), a Defendant’s right to request a jury trial in District Court (transferring the case to Circuit Court) and to obtain additional discovery will essentially be eliminated (unless the jurisdictional limit of the District Court is raised).