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Louisiana's HB 917 Should Be Voted Down

The Louisiana Legislature will hear HB 917 on the floor of the House of Representatives tomorrow, April 9. We at Redmann Law believe the bill is a bad idea and will cause great harm, particularly to our state's working class. We respectfully ask that you contact your local legislator and urge him or her to vote down this bill.

HB 917 was proposed by Rep. Raymond Garofalo (R-Chalmette) and it aims to do away with the $50,000 threshold for a jury trial in civil cases. Unlike criminal cases-where jury trials are permitted in all cases, no matter the size-civil cases cannot go to a jury trial if the amount of money in dispute is less than $50,000. In cases under the $50,000 threshold, verdicts are reached by a judge who evaluates the case on its merits. HB 917 would eliminate the $50,000 figure and allow jury trials in all cases, no matter how small. Rep. Garofalo made his case for his bill in a letter to the editor of the Times-Picayune, saying this bill would improve Louisiana's civil justice system.

We respectfully disagree. While the right to a trial in front of a jury of our peers is one of our great rights as Americans, the $50,000 threshold is necessary to lighten the clutter of cases in our courts and to reduce the number of people who have to take time away from their jobs and families to serve on a jury. HB 917 is especially harmful to small business owners who would lose productivity and earnings if more employees had to take leave for jury duty, and to Louisiana workers who may not be able to afford to miss work or pay for childcare.

To get involved, find the name of your local legislator by clicking HERE and entering your home address. Then click on the name of your State Representative, and you'll be given his/her contact information. Copy and paste your Representative's e-mail address, and then send her/him an e-mail with one of the following messages:


HB 917 is a bad bill.

Our economy is having a hard enough time as it is, without some ill-advised members in our legislature now trying to make it worse with this House Bill which would suddenly make it possible for EVERY civil lawsuit filed-not just those with a value of over $50,000-to be one that entitles either side to have a jury. Which means this proposed law could necessitate a room full of local citizens to be pulled from their jobs and homes to show up for jury duty, every day, in every courthouse in our great state. Employees, stay-at-home parents, and business owners would gets summonses to go through jury selection, and then sit through a trial that could last days or weeks, no matter if the dispute is $50 or any number less than $50,000.

Add to this massive harm the havoc wreaked on the legal system-huge added expenses and delays due to the costs associated with jury expenses ($1000s per case) and delays (days or weeks to try the same case that an experienced judge would try in one day, or a few), multiplied exponentially by ALL cases under $50,000 in which a jury is requested. Not to mention that cases will take much longer-years, rather than months-to reach trial, as experts have stated loud and clear.

There will also be a great increase in interruption in more and more ordinary people's lives as they have to sit around and wait to see if they can then sit on a jury. This would be a terrible disservice to your constituents (myself included), who did not elect you to serve them in this manner. Please vote against this bill. It is not in the best interest of the people you represent.

Your Name, Address, City


HB 917 is a bad bill.

I am a business owner. HB 917 puts my company, ____________, at risk. It costs my business if my employees or I have to miss work to report more often for jury duty.

Our economy is having a hard enough time as it is, without some ill-advised members in our legislature now trying to make it worse with this House Bill which would suddenly make it possible for EVERY civil lawsuit filed-not just those with a value of over $50,000-to be one that entitles either side to have a jury. Which means this proposed law could necessitate a room full of local citizens to be pulled from their jobs and homes to show up for jury duty, every day, in every courthouse in our great state. Employees, stay-at-home parents, and business owners would gets summonses to go through jury selection, and then sit through a trial that could last days or weeks, no matter if the dispute is $50 or any number less than $50,000.

Add to this massive harm the havoc wreaked on the legal system-huge added expenses and delays due to the costs associated with jury expenses ($1000s per case) and delays (days or weeks to try the same case that an experienced judge would try in one day, or a few), multiplied exponentially by ALL cases under $50,000 in which a jury is requested. Not to mention that cases will take much longer-years, rather than months-to reach trial, as experts have stated loud and clear.

There will also be a great increase in interruption in more and more ordinary people's lives as they have to sit around and wait to see if they can then sit on a jury. This would be a terrible disservice to your constituents (myself included), who did not elect you to serve them in this manner. Please vote against this bill. It is not in the best interest of the people you represent.

Your Name, Address, City

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