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Ford Motor Credit Co. LLC v. Esposito

September 1, 2010

FORD MOTOR CREDIT COMPANY LLC, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD A. ESPOSITO AND CYNTHIA L. BEAN ECF NO. 28 DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff Ford Motor Credit Company LLC's, ("Ford Credit") Motion to Strike Defendant Edward A. Esposito's ("Esposito") Demand for a Jury Trial (ECF No. 28). For the reasons set forth bellow, Plaintiff's Motion is denied.

I. Factual Background

Ford Motor filed this lawsuit against Defendants Esposito and Cynthia L. Bean ("Bean") to enforce its rights under personal guaranties that were executed by Defendants in which they agreed to guaranty certain indebtedness owed to Plaintiff by Vintage Ford-Mercury, Inc. ("Dealer"). Plaintiff also seeks to recover damages against Defendants for their breach of the guaranties. (Compl. ¶1.) Plaintiff Ford Credit effectuated service of the Complaint on Defendants on December 17, 2009. (Return of Summons, December 21, 2009, ECF Nos. 7and 8.)

Esposito filed an Answer to the Complaint and a Cross-claim against Bean on January 4, 2010. (Def.'s Answer to Pl.s' Compl., January 4, 2010, ECF No. 12.) However, Bean failed to file any answer to either the Complaint or the Cross-claim. On May 11, 2010, before the Clerk of Court ("Clerk") entered a default judgment against Bean, Esposito filed a demand for a jury trial. (Def.'s Jury Trial Demand, ECF No. 18.) Plaintiff subsequently requested an entry of default judgment against Bean and the Clerk entered a judgment, on May 26, 2010, against Bean in favor of Plaintiff in the amount of $487,751.10. (Clerk's Entry of Default J., May 26, 2010, ECF Nos. 22-26.)

On July 5, 2010, Plaintiff moved to strike Esposito's demand for a jury trial arguing that his demand was not timely under Rule 38(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and therefore had been waived. (Mot. to Strike Jury Trial Demand, ¶¶ 8-9, & Br. in Supp. 4, July 5, 2010, ECF Nos. 28-29.) On July 12, 2010, Esposito filed a response and supporting brief in opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Jury Trial Demand (ECF Nos. 30-31). Plaintiff requested leave to file a reply in further support of its Motion to Strike and in particular to respond to Esposito's Rule 39(b) argument. (ECF No. 33.) This Court granted the request and Plaintiff filed its Reply to the Response ("Reply").

II. Legal Analysis

The right to trial by jury is guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. U.S. Const. Amend. VII; Fed. R. Civ. P. 38(a); see also Rise v. Barley, Snyder, Senft & Cohen LLC, No. 05-CV-01651, 2008 WL 859238 at*3 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 27, 2008). Rules 38 and 39 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern the right to a jury trial. Rule 38 states in relevant part:

(b) Demand. On any issue triable of right by a jury, a party may demand a jury trial by:

(1) serving the other parties with a written demand - which may be included in a pleading - no later than 14 days after the last pleading directed to the issue is served; and

(2) filing the demand in accordance with Rule 5(d).

(d) Waiver; Withdrawal. A party waives a jury trial unless its demand is properly served and filed. A proper demand may be withdrawn only if the parties consent.

Fed.R.Civ.P. 38(b) and (d). As indicated by Rule 38(b), a party requesting a jury trial must make a timely demand for jury trial within fourteen (14) days after the service of the last pleading that addresses the issue by filing it in accordance to Rule 5(d). Fed. R. Civ. P. 38(b); see also Rise, 2008 WL 859238 at *4. Failure to properly demand a jury trial ...


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