In my civil litigation practice, almost all of my clients want a jury trial. However, recent changes in the law due to the budget crises are making it more financially challenging for them to have one.
It used to be that parties could wait until 25 days before the trial date to post their jury fees, and that the fees were refundable if the case settled. Not any more. The California legislature has recently passed a law (SB 1021, effective July 9, 2012) requiring that each party in a civil case who wants a jury trial post fees in the amount of $150 on or before the initial case management conference. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 631(b) codifies this change. Gone are the days where a party could simply check the box on a case management conference statement indicating that they want a jury trial, or post them and get them back if the case settled. The fees are now non-refundable. Given the huge volume of cases filed in Los Angeles alone, this should result in a huge windfall to our financially strapped court system.