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)