Law: Now Juries Are on Trial

"Big cases" call into question their ability to do justice

The First Congress proposed the Seventh Amendment, guaranteeing the right to a jury trial "in Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars." But back in 1789 they could never have imagined anything like Memorex vs. IBM.

To decide whether IBM had monopolized various markets claimed in Memorex's $900 million antitrust suit, jurors needed a detailed understanding of things like "reverse engineering," "cross elasticity of supply" and "subordinated debentures." The trial lasted 96 days. The jury heard 87 witnesses...

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