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New Law to Expedite Jury Trials

On October 4, 2010, California Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 2284, The Expedited Jury Trials Act, authorizing optional one-day jury trials with simplified rules in civil cases.

The purpose of the act is to provide a procedure for faster, more cost effective jury trials. This will allow individuals a cost effective option to obtain a jury decision.

The actual court rules for this process are being developed. The target date to begin the option is January 1, 2011.

I understand that to qualify for the expedited process, the Plaintiff and the Defendant must agree to use this option. The expedited civil jury trial then would be tried before an eight-member jury, six of whom must agree on a verdict. The Plaintiff and the Defendant will be limited to three hours each to present witnesses and evidence. The goal is to conduct the entire trial, from jury selection to verdict, in one day.

Additionally, the parties may enter into an agreement setting a high verdict and a low verdict limit. This agreement establishes, in advance, a floor and ceiling on the verdict. This helps eliminate risks for both sides. The floor/ceiling agreement would not be disclosed to the jury. Finally, rights to appeal the verdict would be limited as well.

My office has tried many cases. We represent individuals seriously hurt in accidents. This expedited process will help more people have access to the civil justice system. We can be reached at 619-233-6078.

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