L&E’s Adam Graves Discusses National Decline in Jury Trials

Langdon & Emison partner Adam Graves recently published a blog post about the vanishing jury trials across the United States and the implications on civil justice.

According to Graves, the Southern District of New York held only 50 criminal trials in 2015, the lowest since 2004. Decades ago the numbers were much higher.

The same can be said for civil cases in state and federal courts. A recent article by The Wall Street Journal referred to “the pin-drop silence” in federal courthouses, saying that fewer than 1 percent of civil cases are tried by jury.

And, in state courts, the 75 largest counties saw a 50 percent drop-off in jury and bench trials from 1992 to 2005.

“One cause for the decrease in civil trials is the heavy use of arbitration clauses in contracts, which effectively remove many disputes from the courts,” Graves writes.

While corporations claim arbitration saves all parties time and money, Graves argues that arbitration clauses “are not to expedite fairness, but rather to kill a case against a company before its filed.”

The Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial in civil cases. Forced arbitration fails to protect Americans’ fundamental right to trial by jury and allows corporations to avoid responsibility and accountability for their conduct.

What’s at stake? All rights – freedom of speech, religion, trial by jury – that are protected by the 7th Amendment and that safeguard Americans from government and corporate overreach, Graves says.

Read the full article on the Kansas City Legal Examiner.

About Adam Graves

Adam Graves is a partner at Langdon & Emison. An experienced trial attorney, Adam represents clients in personal injury litigation throughout the United States. His practice focuses on complex personal injury and product liability claims involving defective auto and consumer products as well as nursing home abuse litigation.

About Langdon & Emison

Langdon & Emison is recognized as one of the nation’s leading law firm, having taken on some of the world’s largest corporations in personal injury litigation. With office in Lexington and Kansas City (Mo.), St. Louis and Chicago, the firm represents injured people and their families in courtrooms from coast to coast. During 30 years of practice, the firm has earned a national reputation as a leader in auto defect cases, trucking cases and a full array of personal injury litigation.