Civil jury trials are becoming rare in Texas.
The right to have disputes decided by a panel of fellow citizens is cited in the Declaration of Independence and explicitly confirmed in the constitutions of Texas and the United States.
But new statistics show that the right to “trial by jury” is quietly and steadily disappearing thanks to a mixture of tort reform laws and Texas appellate court decisions that have made it more difficult for parties in a lawsuit to have their disputes decided by juries. In addition, lawyers and judges say the expenses of litigation, including discovery and increased attorneys’ fees, have made getting a lawsuit to a jury cost prohibitive.
The result is that the system has made it so procedurally and financially onerous that individuals and even many companies can no longer have their peers judge their disputes.
Read More: The Dallas Morning News (subscription required)