Paid Legal Services

460 - Trial: Initial Jury Trial Documents

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When you request a jury trial, there are certain documents that are required to be presented at the "Final Status Conference," or whatever your local courthouse calls this meeting with the judge. The idea is that the judge needs to see that everyone is ready to do the jury trial and not just talking about it.

In particular, the judge needs to see 4 documents: a witness list, exhibit list, statement to the jury, and a list of proposed form jury instructions. They need to be in proper format and are not simply forms that you could fill out. Included in this package are certain common special instructions tailored to your case, if they happen to exist already.

The value of these is that when you arrive, your landlord and his lawyer see that you are ready to go, and win, and are not scared, but more prepared for this trial than the landlord's lawyer probably is. Psychologically, this is powerful, because they were hoping that you were terrified of trial, and completely unprepared to do what is required. When you show up ready to go, especially after you have surprised them all this time with one tactic after the next, they get that sinking feeling that things might not go as they had once hoped. Showing up with these papers in hand, to give a copy to the judge and the lawyer, are symbolic of what is to come. They often lead to serious settlement discussions, where if you just leave in 30 or 60 days, you owe nothing, they seal the case, and you may even get your security deposit back.

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