United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is defendants/counterclaimants Nevada New
Builds, LLC (“NNB”), Arkham, LLC, and Arkham
XIII, LLC's (collectively “Arkham”) motion to
strike jury demand or alternatively, motion to bifurcate.
(ECF No. 102). Defendant Ann Losee Homeowners'
Association (the “HOA”) joined (ECF No. 103) and
plaintiff Bank of America, N.A. (“BANA”) filed a
response (ECF No. 104), to which NNB and Arkham replied (ECF
No. 106). The HOA also joined NNB and Arkham's reply.
(ECF No. 107).
before the court is BANA's motion in limine.
(ECF No. 105). The HOA filed a response. (ECF No. 111).
February 26, 2016, BANA filed its initial complaint against
the HOA, NNB, Janet Marleny Garcia, Arkham, and Absolute
Collection Services, LLC (“ACS”). (ECF No. 1).
31, 2017, BANA filed a jury trial demand. (ECF No. 50). On
June 2, 2017, BANA's motion for clerk's entry of
default as to Janet Marleny Garcia was granted. (ECF No. 53).
On August 25, 2017, the parties filed a proposed pretrial
order (ECF No. 75) that the court granted on August 29, 2017
(ECF No. 76). The pretrial order noted BANA's jury
October 12, 2017, BANA filed a first amended complaint
alleging the following four (4) causes of action: (1) quiet
title/declaratory judgment against all defendants; (2) breach
of NRS 116.1113 against the HOA and ACS; (3) wrongful
foreclosure against the HOA and ACS; and (4) injunctive
relief against Arkham. (ECF No. 82).
advance of the January 31, 2018 calendar call, BANA and Ann
Losee submitted proposed jury instructions and voir dire.
(ECF Nos. 84, 85, 91, 92). The parties then stipulated to
continue trial four (4) times. (ECF Nos. 95, 98, 100, 112).
instant motion, NNB and Arkham move to strike BANA's jury
demand because BANA's claims for quiet title/declaratory
judgment and permanent injunction are equitable in nature and
are thus not afforded a Seventh Amendment right to a jury
trial. (ECF No. 102).
BANA's motion in limine, BANA requests that the
court exclude the HOA's rebuttal expert, Michael L.
Brunson (“Brunson”), from testifying at trial.
(ECF No. 105).
Motion to strike jury demand
determining whether the right to a jury trial exists, the
court must first decide whether the statutes underlying the
party's claims afford the right to a jury trial. See
City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd.,
526 U.S. 687, 707 (1999). If the statutes do not afford the
right to a jury trial, the court must consider whether the
Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution affords
such a right. Id. The Seventh Amendment provides
that “[i]n Suits at common law, where the value in
controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial
by jury shall be preserved.” U.S. CONST. amend. VII;
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 38(a) (“The right of
trial by jury as declared by the Seventh Amendment to the
Constitution-or as provided by a federal statute-is preserved
to the parties inviolate.”).
Seventh Amendment preserves jury trials for “Suits at
common law, ” but there is no jury trial right for
equitable actions. Katchen v. Landy, 382 U.S. 323,
336-37 (1966). In order to determine whether a party's
claims are those to which the right to a jury trial attaches,
the court must examine the nature of the issues involved and
the remedy sought. Wooddell v. Int'l Bhd. of
Elec. Workers, Local 71, 502 U.S. 93, 97 (1991).
This is a two-step process. First, the court must compare the
action to “18th-century actions brought in the courts
of England prior to the merger of the courts of law and
equity” to determine if the action is legal or
equitable. Id. Second, the court must determine
whether the remedy sought “is legal or equitable in
nature.” Id. “The second inquiry is the
more important in [the] analysis.” Id. Where
the two steps lead to conflicting answers, “the
equitable nature of the relief is dispositive, unless
Congress lacks the power to so limit the remedies
available” for the claim. Spinelli v. Gaughan,
12 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir.1993).