The right to a jury trial applies only to legal remedies and not to equitable causes of action. 381651 Alberta, Ltd. v. 279298 Alberta, Ltd., 675 So.2d 1385 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996). Examples of equitable causes of action are foreclosure of a construction lien, foreclosure of a mortgage, and a cause of action for unjust enrichment. An action seeking a money judgment is traditionally a legal cause of action and, therefore, the right to a jury trial would apply. Where both equitable and legal causes of action arise in the same lawsuit, there is still a right to a jury trial on the legal causes of action. If the causes of action are so intertwined, a jury trial may be afforded for all causes of action, both legal and equitable.
The right to a jury trial on issues so triable may be waived. In many commercial contracts, there may be a provision that the parties waive their right to a jury trial. As with any written document, be sure to read all provisions before signing. Anyone who signs a document is deemed to have read all the terms of it and will be bound by those terms.
A party may also waive the right to have a jury trial by not making a timely demand for it. A jury trial must be demanded within ten days after service of the last pleading directed to that issue. The plaintiff must demand a jury trial in its initial pleading. The demand for a jury trial may be included within any p leading served within the prescribed time, or it may be made by a separate document titled "Demand for Jury Trial". It is interesting to note that a demand for a jury trial may not be withdrawn without the consent of all parties. Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.430.
The right to a jury trial in civil matters is not as cut and dry as some may think. The foregoing is a brief overview of some of the considerations to be made when deciding to have a jury trial or a bench trial.
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