Jury Trials for NY Debt Collection Cases

Image of a gavelAre you wondering whether you should have a jury trial for your New York debt collection case? The courtroom can be dramatic, which may or may not be something you want.

Debt collection cases where there is a dispute of facts that are not settled or won through motion practice will go to trial.

Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind if you are thinking about pursuing a jury trial.

Is there a clause in the contract?

Some contracts include a waiver of jury trial. Assuming the agreement is signed by all parties, the right to a jury trial is waived. Without a written clause in the contract, either party can elect to have their case heard by a jury.

How will a jury decide your case?

After careful selection of the jurors by counsel for all parties, a jury is selected. The jurors are selected from a pool of jurors summoned to court for jury duty.

A jury of six will hear the testimony of a New York debt collection case. They will examine the evidence submitted and with the judge’s “charge” decide the case. The “charge” is the law the court asks the jury to apply to the facts heard.

At least five out of six jurors must believe that your case is stronger than the other side’s, known as the “preponderance” of the evidence, thereby granting a decision — or verdict — in your favor.

Do New York debt collection cases go to a jury?

On occasion, debt collection cases will be heard by a jury. More often than not, the defendant will elect to have a jury trial.

If a non-paying customer demands a jury trial, our experience is that it’s for the sole purpose of dissuading the creditor from pursuing the non-payer.

A jury trial can cause the creditor to spend days in court waiting for a jury and a judge to be available. Waiting costs the creditor time and money. As the creditor, you will also have to pay a trial fee to your attorney to pursue payment of the debt collection case.

Is a jury trial appropriate for your New York debt collection case?

Jury trials are generally not necessary when it comes to debt collection. Judges are most familiar with the law and will be able to weed through the testimony and other evidence in a thorough and meaningful manner.

When it comes to debt collection, speed is important. Choosing a jury trial for a New York debt collection case is generally unnecessary and can delay your case. If you opt for a jury trial, this will undoubtedly extend the process as will require more court appearances than a trial with just a judge.

It is for this reason that when we have cases that are well documented we attempt to win the case by summary judgment to avoid extensive litigation and obtain a judgment in the client’s favor.