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Another Test Established For Exception To 7th Amendment


In Markman v. Westview Instruments Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court announces a new test for deciding whether the Seventh Amendment’s jury right applies in a lawsuit brought under a federal statute. If there are no historical “common law” parallels to the claim asserted under the statute – the approach outlined in the Curtis and Tull decisions – then a court may merely look at past judicial decisions, known as “precedent,” as well as consider basic concerns of fairness, to decide whether the case should be tried by a judge alone or by a jury.