In Virginia, the taxpayers pick up the tab for civil litigants who exercise their right to a jury trial. One Virginia senator wants to make a small change in that practice.
Sen. Ralph Smith, R-Daleville, has introduced legislation that would stick the plaintiff with the bill for the jury if the plaintiff came away empty handed at trial. The gist of SB 875 is stated simply:
Except in cases where Virginia law mandates that a civil action be tried by a jury, any jury costs shall be assessed by the clerk against a plaintiff who requested a trial by jury if that plaintiff did not substantially prevail on the merits of his case.
Smith said that he put in the bill at the suggestion of a court clerk.
No comment yet from the trial lawyers, but it’s not hard to imagine their reaction.
By Peter Vieth