Contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and even owners can become frustrated at the length of time it takes to have a dispute reach the courthouse. Their lawyers are also frequently concerned about whether jurors will be able to understand the complex issues associated with a construction dispute. One way to address this problem is to agree to a bench trial. If the parties can agree to a bench trial, Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-18 (Supp. 2008) provides as follows:
If the parties to a cause of action agree, any claim filed alleging damages may receive a bench trial which shall be conducted in two hundred seventy (270) days or less after the cause of action has been filed. The cause of action shall be a priority item in the court.
Emphasis added. This statute is frequently overlooked but could be just the answer for a contractor that wants a timely resolution of its dispute.