Q: Can a contract clause absolutely eliminate or waive a citizen's right to a trial by jury?
I have noticed this clause in many end user agreements such as computer and phone software, product and service warranty terms, various financial applications, etc. It is always one-sided (written by the provider) and directed at the buyer. Sometimes these terms include mandatory use of a (or their) third party arbitrator as the exclusive and final remedy to a dispute. Sometimes the clause simply states that the 'buyer' waives the right to a trial by jury. Period. This SOUNDS like it would be contrary to the US Constitution. I believe one can put virtually anything into a contract but whether it is truly binding and enforceable is usually the question and the reason you go to court. So, in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, would this clause completely eliminate your right to a trial by jury? Thanks.
A: Right to a jury applies to criminal matters, not civil cases like business contracts. Rights to a jury in civil cases depend on state law, and can usually be waived as a matter of contract. That's why those waivers appear in so many business contracts.
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