Watching many a courtroom drama may have lead you to believe a jury will hang your nonpaying customer out to dry. Is it really as portrayed in the movies? Is a jury right to decide your debt collection case?
The right to a jury trial.
All parties to litigation, including debt collection litigation, are entitled to a jury trial. That is, of course, unless your underlying agreement with your customer included a provision for both parties that waived their rights.
How does a jury trial work?
The judge calls a group of people, potential jurors, into the courtroom. Lawyers for both sides ask these people questions. They want to pick people as jurors who will most likely see their point of view. This increases the odds of having jurors vote in your favor, so you win the case.
Once chosen, the jurors will decide the merits of the case. In your case, they will decide if your customer must pay you.
Is a jury trial best for your debt collection case?
We have litigated thousands of debt collection cases over the years. As exciting as they sound, we do not recommend jury trials for most debt collection litigation cases. Here are just 4 reasons why:
- Jurors on the panel are equal under the law despite their different backgrounds, experiences, likes and dislikes. Although jurors may try hard to be impartial, emotion and experience can play a part when considering evidence in your case. So, working with a judge is preferable. Judges have more experience. They may best interpret the facts of the case. Besides, a judge understands the law and its relationship to the facts of the case.
- A jury trial can last for days. The time depends on the complexity of the issues, availability of jurors, judge’s schedule, and more. Jury selection can take several days. The actual trial of a debt collection case can then take a few days. The time you spend at a jury trial may be better spent working on or in your business.
- We may be ready to proceed but a judge, jury or both are not always available. The court postpones your case, but there may still be a requirement for you to appear in court. That may happen on several occasions. Perhaps you may have to return again and again as your case is postponed.
- A jury trial for a breach of contract case is not as glamorous or exciting as portrayed on television or in the movies. A trial is time consuming and expensive, and you may not get the outcome you seek.
While a jury trial is your right for your debt collection case, there are other options.
Want to know how best to handle your claim through demand, arbitration, mediation or arbitration? Contact FFGN, we have the experience that pays.