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Burns v. Lawther

53 F.3d 1237 (1995)

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Burns v. Lawther

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

53 F.3d 1237 (1995)

Facts

Robert H. Burns, a federal prisoner, (plaintiff) filed a Bivens claim against two medical employees at the prison (defendants), alleging their deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Burns’s original complaint did not demand a jury trial. A magistrate judge ordered, and the prison employees filed, a special report to respond to the allegations in the complaint. Nine months later, Burns filed two amended complaints that added claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against the United States and demanded a jury trial on all claims. Thereafter, the prison employees and the United States answered the complaint. The district court denied Burns’s jury demand and cited the prison employees’ special report as the last pleading directed to an issue triable by a jury. The district court then found that Burns’s jury demand was untimely under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 38. After a two-day bench trial, the district court ruled for the prison employees and the United States on all claims. Burns appealed and argued that the district court erred in treating the special report as a pleading within the meaning of FRCP 38. Burns cited the prison employees’ and the United States’ answers—filed after his demand for jury trial—as the last pleading, which would make his jury demand timely.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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