On March 17, 2016, attorneys Pedro F. Soler Muñiz and Alejandro J. Fernández Muzaurieta, presented a torts complaint, specifically medical malpractice, in representation of Ms. Adlin Baez and her daughter, Joymar L. López Baez. In said complaint, jury trial was requested. On March 9, 2017, the Honorable José Alberto Ramos Aponte, Superior Judge at the First Instance Courthouse of Humacao, emitted a resolution throughout which it was authorized that said case be a jury trial.
Said resolution is on of vanguard, since in Puerto Rico only criminal cases are ventilated before a jury. Notwithstanding, according to the resolution, after an analysis of Puerto Rico’s actual status, and based on the recent jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of the United States, and after tempering the legislative, executive and judiciary history, the Honorable Ramos Aponte understood that the 7th and 14th Amendments of the United Stated Constitution are applicable to Puerto Rico. Therefore, being that Puerto Rico is a non-incorporated territory of the United States said amendments are applicable to Puerto Rico and therefore Puerto Ricans have, as a fundamental right, that civil cases, like the medical malpractice ones, be ventilated before a jury.
This resolution is an important moment for Puerto Rico’s legal system and we hope that other judges follow the Honorable Ramos Aponte’s steps.