Grafton Partners LP v. Superior Court, 115 Cal. App. 4th 700, 9 Cal. Rptr. 3d 511 (2004)

Grafton Partners and related parties (Grafton) retained PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to perform an independent audit on their accounting records. The parties’ engagement letter contained a predispute jury waiver whereby both parties agreed not to demand a trial by jury “in the unlikely event” that differences should arise between them and result in litigation. When a dispute did arise between the parties, resulting in Grafton’s suing PwC for breach of contract, professional negligence and other alleged wrongdoing, Grafton demanded a jury trial, and PwC filed a motion to strike the demand based on the parties’ agreement. Relying upon Trizec Properties, Inc. v. Superior Court, 229 Cal. App. 3d 1616 (1991), the trial court enforced the jury trial waiver agreement. In response, Grafton filed a petition for a peremptory writ of mandate, which the Court of Appeal granted, holding that the agreement was barred by the California Constitution’s guarantee of a right to a trial by jury and refusing to follow Trizec.