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Civil Jury Trial

Ninety to Ninety-five percent of all cases resolve after negotiation, mediation, a judicial settlement conference or arbitration. Before a case goes to trial, it usually must be arbitrated, mediated or there must be a judicial settlement conference in which the judge tries to help the parties reach a resolution. If an Oregon case goes to arbitration and a party appeals to a jury trial, that party must receive a higher jury award than arbitration award, or the party is required to pay the attorney’s fees of the other party.

Our overworked judges usually want most civil cases to settle because a trial is an enormous tax on our judicial system, as the jury trial fees do not cover the full cost of a trial for the state. But some cases need to be tried and should be tried. If a case is clearly worth more than $50,000.00, then it may be a good investment to try a case. Civil trials are expensive due to the partial expenses listed below:

  • Expert Witness Fees $3,000.00 to $10,000.00 or more.
  • Non-expert Witness fees and the cost of serving the witnesses with process
  • Jury Trial Fees

Litigation expenses cut into whatever the jury awards, which are only partially off-set by an award of costs and disbursements to the prevailing party. So, there should be a cost/benefit analysis prior to deciding to go to jury trial.

During a jury trial the formal rules of evidence apply. Even a well-educated lay person would have difficulty trying a case without legal education and experience. Thus, legal representation is strongly advised for a jury trial. Although taxing, jury trials can be fun. Sometimes, there are ways of cutting the expense of a jury trial. If both attorneys can stipulate to evidence, then this can cut time and costs for both sides. But if both attorneys and their clients could agree then there would be no need for a jury trial in the first place.

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