United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING CHASE'S MOTION TO STRIKE JURY
DEMAND (DOC. 755) 
COHN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a commercial dispute. J. P. Morgan Chase (Chase) is the
administrative agent for a group of lenders that extended
credit to Venture Holdings Company, LLC (Venture) under a
credit agreement. In 2008, Chase sued Larry J. Winget
(Winget) and the Larry J. Winget Living Trust (Winget Trust)
to enforce a Guaranty and two Pledge Agreements entered into
by Winget and signed by Winget and the Winget Trust in 2002,
guaranteeing the obligations of Venture. After years of
litigation and multiple appeals, on July 28, 2015, the Court
entered an Amended Judgment in favor of Chase and against
Winget and the Winget Trust that enforced the Guaranty and
Pledge Agreements against Winget and the Winget Trust.
Specifically, the judgment against the Winget Trust was in
the amount of $425, 113.115.59. The judgment against against
Winget was limited to $50 million. (Doc. 568).
the Court is Chase's motion to strike jury demand. The
motion was the subject of a phone conference on November 21,
2017 during which the Court permitted the parties to file
additional papers. Chase filed a reply brief (Doc. 767) and
Winget filed a Supplemental Submission (Doc. 768). The matter
is ready for decision. For the reasons that follow, the
motion is GRANTED.
entry of the Amended Judgment, and after Winget satisfied his
portion of the judgment, Chase began collection efforts
against the Winget Trust. This included including issuing
writs of garnishment and serving discovery on the Winget
Trust. During these post-judgment proceedings, Chase learned
that in January of 2014, Winget revoked the Winget Trust.
the revocation, in early 2015, Winget filed an action for
declaratory relief, 15-13469, seeking a declaration that
Chase has no further recourse against Winget, including
assets that were once part of the Winget Trust. Chase filed a
counterclaim, asserting several claims which essentially boil
down to the contention that Winget's revocation of the
Winget Trust was a fraudulent transfer or conveyance. Because
Chase's counterclaim was the functional equivalent of
post-judgment proceedings in the 2008 case, the Court
consolidated the 2015 and 2008 cases and directed all filings
under the 2008 case. (Doc. 686). In response to Chase's
counterclaims, Winget demanded a jury. (Doc. 691).
Guaranty contains an explicit jury waiver:
SECTION 19. GOVERNING LAW; SUBMISSION TO JURISDICTION; WAIVER
OF JURY TRIAL. … THE GUARANTOR, AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE
AGENT AND THE LENDERS ACCEPTING THIS GUARANTY, HEREBY
IRREVOCABLY WAIVES ANY AND ALL RIGHT TO TRIAL BY JURY IN ANY
LEGAL PROCEEDING ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO THE GUARANTY
OR THE TRANSACTIONS CONTEMPLATED HEREBY.
2009, Winget and Winget Trust demanded a jury on Chase's
claims to enforce the Guaranty. (Doc. 41 at 30.) Chase moved
to strike the jury demand based on the unambiguous waiver.
(Doc. 44.) Winget responded that the jury waiver was
unenforceable, relying in part on Winget's position that
the Winget Trust and Winget had coextensive liability under
Section 3 of the Guaranty. (Doc. 45 at 4-6.) The Court
rejected this argument, recognizing that “[b]y virtue
of [S]ection 19 of the Guaranty, Defendants clearly,
knowingly, and voluntarily waived their right to a jury
trial.” (Doc. 48 at p. 10.
present posture of the case, noted above, Chase is pursuing
claims against Winget due to Winget's revocation of the
Winget Trust, an action which has prevented Chase ...