Q:

Which well-known court cases involve the Seventh Amendment?

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Quick Answer

According to the American Judicature Society, there are a number of famous court cases involving the Seventh Amendment, the most notable of which are United States v. Wonson, Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., and Beacon Theatres v. Westover. Supreme Court justices decide cases involving the Seventh Amendment by applying the "historical test," which is a constitutional interpretation in which English common law is applied to determine whether a jury trial is necessary.

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Full Answer

Cornell University Law School indicates that the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that in civil trials, people have a right to a trial by jury. The amendment also prevents courts from overturning a jury's findings of fact.

The American Judicature Society has explained that the precedent for interpretation cases involving the Seventh Amendment was first set in United States v. Wonson. When the United States appealed for a retrial following the loss of its case against Samuel Wonson, Justice Joseph Story ruled that retrying the facts would violate the Seventh Amendment. He also asserted that the basis for determining whether a civil trial has the right to a jury is English common law, which was the foundation of legal understanding at the time the Seventh Amendment was written.

Wikipedia has recorded the importance of Beacons Theatres v. Westover and Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc. "Westover" has set the precedent that when legal and equitable questions are joined in the same case, a jury must try the legal claims before the equitable claims can be resolved. "Markman" has determined that patent claims are the domain of the courts, not questions of fact. Thus, they are not covered under the Seventh Amendment guarantee of a jury.

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