The right to trial by jury in a civil case is addressed by the 7th Amendment, which provides: "In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law." In Joseph Story's 1833 treatise Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, he wrote, "[I]t is a most important and valuable amendment; and places upon the high ground of constitutional right the inestimable privilege of a trial by jury in civil cases, a privilege scarcely inferior to that in criminal cases, which is conceded by all to be essential to political and civil liberty." Nearly every state constitution contains a similar guarantee. The 7th Amendment does not create any right to a jury trial; rather, it "preserves" the right to jury trial that existed in 1791 at common law. In this context, common law means the legal environment the United States inherited from England at the time. In England in 1791, civil actions were divided into actions at law and actions in equity. Actions at law had a right to a jury, actions in equity did not. The decision in Rachal v. Hill, 435 F.2d 59 (5th. Cir. 1970) indicated that 7th Amendment right to jury trial may severely limit developments in the principles of res judicata. Some critics believe that the United States has more trial by jury than is necessary or desirable. The right to a jury trial is determined based upon the a demand in the complaint brought by a Plaintiff, without regard to the defenses or counterclaims asserted by a defendant. The right to a jury trial in civil cases does not ex
end to the states, except when a state court is enforcing a federally created right, of which the right to trial by jury is a substantial part. It has been suggested that in complex litigation, the jury's inability to comprehend the issues may cause the 7th Amendment right to conflict with due process rights and authorize the judge to strike the jury. The right to trial by jury in bankruptcy cases has been described as unclear. In Colgrove v. Battin, 413 U.S. 149 (1973), the Supreme Court held that a civil jury of six members did not violate the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury in a civil case. Res judicata or res iudicata (RJ), also known as claim preclusion, is the Latin term for "a matter [already] judged", and may refer to two concepts: in both civil law and common law legal systems, a case in which there has been a final judgment and is no longer subject to appeal; and the legal doctrine meant to bar (or preclude) continued litigation of such cases between the same parties, which is different between the two legal systems. In this latter usage, the term is synonymous with "preclusion". In the case of res judicata, the matter cannot be raised again, either in the same court or in a different court. A court will use res judicata to deny reconsideration of a matter. The legal concept of res judicata arose as a method of preventing injustice to the parties of a case supposedly finished, but perhaps mostly to avoid unnecessary waste of resources in the court system. Res judicata does not merely prevent future judgments from contradicting earlier ones, but also prevents litigants from multiplying judgments, so a prevailing plaintiff could not recover damages from the defendant twice for the same injury.