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SCOPE OF JURY - WAIVER PROVISIONS - EX PARTE ROPER

In Ex parte Roper, [Ms. 1091196, Dec. 30, 2010] __ So. 3d __(Ala. 2010), the primary heirs of an estate holding over $17,000,000 worth of Colonial Bank stock executed a promissory note with Colonial Bank in the amount of $6,000,000 to satisfy the estate's estate tax liability. After being assured of the bank's solvency, the heirs ("plaintiffs") executed the subject promissory note and related loan documents. The loan documents contained a jury-waiver provision. After Colonial Bank's stock became virtually worthless and the bank entered receivership, the plaintiffs sued Colonial Bank, BB&T, and a number of individual employees of Colonial Bank. The trial court subsequently entered an order dismissing plaintiffs' jury demand as to all defendants. Plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to set aside the trial court's order as to the individual defendants. The Alabama Supreme Court granted Plaintiffs writ and reinstated the jury demand as to the individual defendants. The Court noted that based on the plain language of the jury-waiver provision the waiver applied only to explicitly defined parties, and that Colonial Bank failed to confer the benefit of the waiver to its agents and employees.

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