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The Judge and the Jury, Part One

Judgment as a Matter of Law (Directed Verdict)


Every good citizen knows that the Constitution guarantees “the right to trial by jury.” However, a good part of the civil procedure course is devoted to studying various hurdles that stand between the litigant who demands jury trial and actual jury decision of the merits of her case. As the last chapter demonstrates, the plaintiff’s case may be cut short by a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), which allows the judge to enter judgment for the defendant on the ground that the plaintiff’s complaint does not state a legal claim for relief. If the plaintiff’s case survives a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge, it may still meet an early demise on a motion for summary judgment if the judge concludes that there is “no genuine dispute as to any material fact” for the jury to consider.

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