Since the founding of our country, the 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution has guaranteed every American the right to have a jury to decide civil disputes. Unbeknownst to most Americans, including many lawyers, this right is being actively attacked by a growing number of big business defendants and is even gaining traction in some lower courts. Stretching the law’s corporate restructuring and bankruptcy provisions beyond recognition, powerful interests are working to deny aggrieved Americans their right to full and fair jury trials for injuries, illnesses and deaths resulting from exposure to defective products and other wrongful behavior. The assault on the constitutional right to trial by jury can only be stopped through increased public awareness and through the actions of attorneys and their clients who are fighting back in courts across the country and in Congress.
The right to have civil disputes—that is, claims for damages arising from the wrongful conduct of others—tried before a jury of your peers is guaranteed by the 7th Amendment. This fundamental tenet of our Constitution and the U.S. legal system ensures that fair and impartial members of the community serve as fact-finders and voices of common sense and perspective in resolving disputes among their fellow citizens.