Rinehardt Law - May 2022

MAY 2022

BE SMART, GET RINEHARDT Rinehardt Law | RinehardtLawFirm.com | 419-LAW-2020


In the news, we often hear talk of the First Amendment (freedom of speech and religion) and the Second Amendment (right to bear arms), but few outside the legal profession know much about the Seventh Amendment. As we probably learned in our American government course in high school (and soon forgot), the Seventh Amendment guarantees the right to trial by jury. While most of us are probably aware this right applies to cases where someone is charged with a crime, the right to jury trial also applies to civil cases where someone has their health or livelihood taken away from them by a wrongdoer. To have a case decided by a jury in a civil case means that eight members of our community, picked at random, are presented with the evidence and then, if three-fourths of them agree, they render a decision on the case. Sounds simple, but why is the right to jury trial so important that our Founding Fathers fought to have it made a permanent part of our Constitution? Trial by jury is a Constitutional right because having eight people come to a decision, as opposed to a decision made by just one person

(a judge), ensures that there will be diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds, thereby minimizing the chance that the outcome will be influenced by bias or prejudice, or favoritism for or against one of the parties in a civil case. Having a case decided by a jury means that at the end of the case — win, lose, or draw — the parties have had a fair chance to have their side of the case heard. Guaranteeing a right to jury serves as an equalizer that levels the playing field. No matter the wealth or power of one party versus the other, when you come to court for a jury trial, both sides stand on equal footing. Because the jury trial acts as a restraint against the rich and powerful, there are those out there who would like to change the rules to seek an unfair advantage. In front of a jury, even the biggest corporation has to face justice without being able to buy or bully its way out. Because the rich and powerful don’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else, they have devised a strategy to stack the deck in their favor — it is called mandatory arbitration. In virtually every credit card application, life insurance policy, contract to lease or buy a car, and even DirectTV or cable company

documents, buried in the fine print, is a clause that takes away the right to a jury trial and replaces it with a system where one person, usually a person handpicked by the corporation, gets to decide any case brought by the consumer against the corporation. Thankfully, Congress has recognized the unfairness of corporations taking away the right to jury trial and recently passed a law that prohibits forced arbitration in claims of sexual harassment. Hopefully, it will lead to additional laws against forced arbitration in other situations as well. Here at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys, we have the privilege of taking part in jury trials on behalf of our injured clients, and we see firsthand the fair shake it gives our clients, even when we are facing off against the giants of the insurance industry. In our fight for justice, for those who have had their health taken from them wrongfully, through no fault of their own, the right to a jury is the stone in David’s sling as he goes up against Goliath.


1 Rinehardt Law | BeSmartLegal.com

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