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JURY TRIAL - EX PARTE BANCORPSOUTH BANK

Ex parte BancorpSouth Bank, [Ms. 1111209, Oct. 19, 2012] __ So. 3d __(Ala. 2012). Thomas Busby signed guarantees of loans that included waivers of jury trial. When a dispute arose, he sued, demanding a jury trial. The trial court denied the bank's motion to strike the jury demand, and the bank petitioned for mandamus. The Court applies the following standard in evaluating whether to enforce a contractual waiver of the right to trial by jury: (1) whether the waiver is buried deep in a long contract; (2) whether the bargaining power of the parties is equal; and (3) whether the waiver was intelligently and knowingly made. The guarantee agreements were only two pages long, and the second of two jury-waiver provisions was in bold, all capital letters just above the signature line. Busby is a lawyer and a sophisticated investor. Busby's knowledge and experience were sufficient to satisfy the Court that the waiver was knowingly and intelligently made. The Court grants mandamus, ordering the trial court to strike Busby's jury demand.
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