Jury Trial Procedure
Under New York practice, the expression “Be Careful What You Ask For” has special meaning. Lawyers can find themselves in quite a quandary when they realize that the way they have framed claims or defenses in an initial pleading stays with them for the rest of the case and can eviscerate the right to a trial by jury.
While the time to choose whether to request a jury or bench (decided solely by a judge) trial does not arise until after all pretrial discovery proceedings are complete and the case is ready for trial (see CPLR 3402 and CPLR 4102(a)), whether a party has a right to a jury is governed by the content of and facts alleged in the initial pleadings in the case—the original complaint and the answers/counterclaims thereto. Generally, alleging facts that require the court to exercise its “equitable” powers constitutes a waiver of the right to a jury trial in the entire case. Courts therefore need to determine what exactly amounts to “equitable” relief.
Read the full blog here.