Rule 39. Trial by Jury or by the Court
(a) When a Demand Is Made. When a jury trial has been demanded under Rule 38, the action must be designated on the docket as a jury action. The trial on all issues so demanded must be by jury unless:
(1) the parties or their attorneys file a stipulation to a nonjury trial or so stipulate on the record; or
(2) the court, on motion or on its own, finds that on some or all of those issues there is no federal right to a jury trial.
(b) When No Demand Is Made. Issues on which a jury trial is not properly demanded are to be tried by the court. But the court may, on motion, order a jury trial on any issue for which a jury might have been demanded.
(1) may try any issue with an advisory jury; or
(2) may, with the parties’ consent, try any issue by a jury whose verdict has the same effect as if a jury trial had been a matter of right, unless the action is against the United States and a federal statute provides for a nonjury trial.
(As amended Apr. 30, 2007, eff. Dec. 1, 2007.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1937
The provisions for express waiver of jury trial found in U.S.C., Title 28, [former] §773 (Trial of issues of fact; by court) are incorporated in this rule. See rule 38, however, which extends the provisions for waiver of jury. U.S.C., Title 28, [former] §772 (Trial of issues of fact; in equity in patent causes) is unaffected by this rule. When certain of the issues are to be tried by jury and others by the court, the court may determine the sequence in which such issues shall be tried. See Liberty Oil Co. v. Condon Nat. Bank, 260 U.S. 235 (1922).
A discretionary power in the courts to send issues of fact to the jury is common in state procedure. Compare Calif.Code Civ.Proc. (Deering, 1937) §592; 1 Colo.Stat.Ann. (1935) Code Civ.Proc., ch. 12, §191; Conn.Gen.Stat. (1930) §5625; 2 Minn.Stat. (Mason, 1927) §9288; 4 Mont.Rev.Codes Ann. (1935) §9327; N.Y.C.P.A. (1937) §430; 2 Ohio Gen.Code Ann. (Page, 1926) §11380; 1 Okla.Stat.Ann. (Harlow, 1931) §351; Utah Rev.Stat.Ann. (1933) §104–23–5; 2 Wash.Rev.Stat.Ann. (Remington, 1932) §315; Wis.Stat. (1935) §270.07. See [former] Equity Rule 23 (Matters Ordinarily Determinable at Law When Arising in Suit in Equity to be Disposed of Therein) and U.S.C., Title 28, [former] §772 (Trial of issues of fact; in equity in patent causes); Colleton Merc. Mfg. Co. v. Savannah River Lumber Co., 280 Fed. 358 (C.C.A.4th, 1922); Fed. Res. Bk. of San Francisco v. Idaho Grimm Alfalfa Seed Growers’ Ass'n, 8 F.(2d) 922 (C.C.A.9th, 1925), cert. den. 270 U.S. 646 (1926); Watt v. Starke, 101 U.S. 247, 25 L.Ed. 826 (1879).
Committee Notes on Rules—2007 Amendment
The language of Rule 39 has been amended as part of the general restyling of the Civil Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only.