Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff claims race discrimination in violation of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and sued defendants. Defendants wanted a jury trial, but their request was denied by the trial court.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The Seventh Amendment entitled either party to demand a jury trial in an action for damages under Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
Whatever doubt may have existed should now be dispelled.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiff Curtis accused Defendants Loethers of refusing to rent her an apartment in violation of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Plaintiff Curtis also requested a preliminary injunction to enjoin Defendants from renting the unit until the dispute was resolved, which the court granted. Plaintiff Curtis found housing five months later and allowed the court to release the injunction. Defendants requested a jury trial in their which the court denied, holding that it was not required under Title VIII or the Seventh Amendment. At trial the court found Defendant Loethers in violation answerof Title VIII and awarded $250 in punitive damages only, no actual damages or attorneys fees. The court of appeals reversed on the jury-trial issue, and the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari.
Does the Seventh Amendment entitle either party to demand a jury trial in an action for damages under Title viii of the civil Rights Act of 1968?
Yes, the Seventh Amendment entitles either party to demand a jury trial in an action for damages under Title viii of the civil Rights Act of 1968. The decision of the appellate court is affirmed.
1. Precedent establishes that the Seventh Amendment is applicable to causes of action arising from statutes if the statute creates new legal rights and remedies that are enforceable in court. This is the case here.
2. § 812 of Title VIII provides a framework for enforcing legal rights and bringing a damage action. Therefore the Seventh Amendment applies.
3. While a jury trial has its pitfalls, like racial bias and being time consuming, there are procedural safeguards in place that allow the court to deal with the issues.
4. The decision of the appellate court is affirmed.