Litigation and Corporate & Securities partner Robert Heim was quoted in Bloomberg Law’s article, “Fidelity Workers’ 401(k) Class Action Takes Rare Turn.” The article explores the class action targeting the affiliated mutual funds in Fidelity Investments’ 401(k) plan that will be tried before a federal judge with assistance from an advisory jury, which is an unusual decision.
Robert explains, “Advisory juries hear evidence in the case in the exact same way as traditional juries, and they provide a non-binding opinion to assist the judge who ultimately decides the case. Advisory juries are sometimes used in cases that garner a great deal of public interest.”
He notes that having an advisory jury can work against the company saying that, “Fidelity did not want a jury. From a defendant’s perspective, there’s a number of complex legal issues that they would prefer to be weighed by a judge. Defendants are always concerned that juries can be unduly swayed by emotions and verdicts can always be larger when tried by a jury instead of a judge.”
Robert also highlights that an advisory jury can be beneficial. He concludes saying, “Having an advisory jury could also protect the final decision during a potential appeal, should an appeals judge disagree with his decision to not have a traditional jury.”
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