312-578-9501 | www.shannonlawgroup.com JULY 2018
RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL
On July 4, 1776, the soon-to-be-independent U.S. citizens listed several grievances against the King. Among these grievances was that the king deprived the American colonies of the benefits of trial by jury. After we won independence from Great Britain, our Founding Fathers ratified the Sixth Amendment to our Constitution, which enshrines the right to a trial by jury for all of us. Nearly every state in the union also grants its citizens a right to a jury trial. The Illinois Constitution enshrined the right to jury trial 200 years ago in the year 1818. The right to a jury trial is near and dear to our clients. Nothing levels the playing field more than a panel of jurors who decide a case filed by their fellow citizen. These folks decide the case on the merits of the case and not on who is more powerful. Who should decide if a company is liable if they hide the dangerousness of their asbestos-containing product and expose users of the product to the cruel disease of mesothelioma? Who should decide if it’s right to put untrained or unfit drivers behind the wheel of commercial vehicles, who end up permanently injuring people? Who should decide if it’s right for the government to take our property against our will just because they want to develop a mall, and how much the government should reimburse the owner? Each one of us is dependent on our health and ability to work to keep ourselves independent. In my book, the constitutional right to a jury trial has never been more precious. Fast-forward to 2018. I pose the following questions to you:
for this death and how much his family should be reimbursed for the horrific suffering he endured.
We represent a construction worker who was permanently injured on the job. He filed for workers’ compensation, and the next day, the construction company fired him. A jury should decide if that is right. We represent a hardworking, independent woman who had a spectacular record in her work history. She had a spotless personnel file, and her clients loved her. She notified her boss that she had become pregnant, and after a month of harassing behavior, the company terminated her. A jury should decide if that is right. We represent a woman who was hit by a truck two years ago. After seven surgeries, she has been confined to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Before the crash, she would regularly visit her mother, drive her car, live independently, and go about her business. A jury should decide how much she should be compensated. The constitutional right to a jury trial allows our clients to seek justice when a company or another tortfeasor has made their ability to compete in the marketplace impossible. Without this right, these folks would become bankrupt and have to rely on our governmental aid system. Shouldn’t the responsible party be the one who compensates those who they have injured?
A few of our recently filed cases bear this out:
We represent the estate of a longtime railroad worker. Our client learned he had mesothelioma. We filed the case immediately. Unfortunately, within weeks, he died from this terrible and painful illness. A jury should decide who is to blame
Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
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