Ross v. Bernhard

396 U.S. 531 (1970)


P brought a derivative suit in federal court against the directors of an investment company and the brokers alleging that the company had been charged excessive brokerage fees. P demanded a jury trial. On motion to strike P's jury trial demand, the District Court held that a shareholder's right to a jury on his corporation's cause of action was to be judged as if the corporation were itself the plaintiff. Only the shareholder's initial claim to speak for the corporation had to be tried to the judge. The District Court permitted an interlocutory appeal. 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that a derivative action was entirely equitable in nature, and no jury was available to try any part of it. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.