Effect where Right to Jury Trial Arises in State Court Admiralty Action

An admiralty suit, being in the federal courts by reason of diversity of citizenship, carries with it the right to trial by jury.  Trial by jury is a remedy generally afforded in the state courts.   However, if the right to trial by jury is one of the remedies saved to a suitor under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1333 when he brings such a claim by ordinary civil action in federal courts, then right to jury should be afforded him.[i]

Jury Trial is a procedural matter and not a substantive matter.  Therefore, such a trial does not modify the applicable general maritime law.  The state court must judge the validity of the jury’s verdict in accordance with Seventh Amendment standards.  Moreover, a plaintiff who files an admiralty claim in state court does not lose the right to a trial by jury if defendant removes the case to federal admiralty court.

[i] Lavergne v. Western Co. of North America, Inc., 371 So. 2d 807 (La. 1979)


Inside Effect where Right to Jury Trial Arises in State Court Admiralty Action