JURORS' ATTITUDES ABOUT CIVIL LITIGATION AND THE SIZE OF DAMAGE AWARDS

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "JURORS' ATTITUDES ABOUT CIVIL LITIGATION AND THE SIZE OF DAMAGE AWARDS"

Transcription

1 JURORS' ATTITUDES ABOUT CIVIL LITIGATION AND THE SIZE OF DAMAGE AWARDS EDITH GREENE* JANE GOODMAN** ELIZABETH F. LoFTus*** TABLE OF CONTENTS I. M ethod A. Participants B. Procedure C. M aterials II. Results A. Estimates of the Percentage of Plaintiffs Whose Awards Exceed $1 Million B. Correlation Between Estimates of Percentage of Million Dollar Awards and Mock Juror Damage Awards C. Responses to the Attitude Survey Beliefs about the tort reform movement and the "insurance crisis" The influence of the media on jurors' attitudes about civil lawsuits Beliefs about attorney credibility Correlation between responses to attitude survey and mock juror damage awards III. Discussion * Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Colorado; B.A., Stanford University, 1971; Ph.D., University of Washington, This study was funded by a grant in which all the authors participated from the National Science Foundation, Law and Social Sciences Program. ** Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Washington, Attorney-At-Law (Associate) Frank and Rosen (Seattle). B.A., Witwatersrand University (Johannesburg, S. Africa), 1972; J.D., University of Puget Sound, 1983; Ph.D., University of Washington, *** Professor of Psychology and Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Washington. B.A., University of Southern California, 1966; Ph.D., Stanford University,

2 806 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 40:805 The jury smiled when they made the award. They didn't know it was coming out of their own pockets. They thought they were giving away the insurance company's money. So it wouldn't hurt to be generous. Because insurance companies can afford to pay big awards. All they have to do is collect higher insurance premiums. From you. And excessive awards eventually cost you money. We don't object to paying fair awards. That's our business. But paying exaggerated awards inflates costs. And can affect your insurance in other ways... No one likes higher prices. But we're telling it straight. This advertisement, written for Crum & Forster Insurance Companies, was part of a multi-million dollar publicity campaign that the insurance industry launched in 1985 in response to the perceived insurance "crisis" purportedly caused by a civil justice system in disarray.' The industry advertised against large damage awards, urged consumers to join the battle against "lawsuit abuse," and lobbied lawmakers to reform state statutes. Other messages, including those from media sources, expressed similar concerns: "Everybody in the USA suddenly seems to want to sue anybody with liability insurance coverage... The greed has turned the temple ofjustice, long a hallowed place, into a pigsty;" '2 "Like a plague of locusts, U.S. lawyers with their clients have descended upon America and are suing the country out of business. Literally." 3 Indeed, a sort of "insurance crisis" did exist throughout the nation in the mid-1980s. Complaints that insurance had become prohibitively expensive for many people, or worse, that insurance was no longer even available, abounded. Nearly all state legislatures responded to this situation by instituting some version of tort reform legislation. According to one commentator, forty-six states enacted 208 pieces of reform legislation during Proposed legislative remedies included establishing caps on jury awards of various kinds (e.g., for pain and suffering), completely abolishing particular kinds of awards (e.g., punitive damages), limiting contingency fee payments for plaintiffs' lawyers, changing the rules of discovery, tightening negligence rules, and loosening standards of care and conduct United States Department of Justice, Report of the Tort Policy Worhing Group on the Causes, Extent and Policy Implications of the Current Crisis in Insurance Availability and Affordability, 80 (1986). 2. Hold Down Awards to Ease the Crisis, USA Today, June 6, 1986, at 12A, col Dee, Blood Bath, 10 ENTERPRISE 3, 3 (1986). 4. Casey, Tort Reform Coalitions Flourish in Midwest, NAT"L UNDERWRITER, PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANcE EDITION, July 18, 1986, at 14 (discussing effectiveness of tort reform coalitions in lobbying for new legislation). 5. Daniels & Martin,Jury Verdicts and the "'Cris" in Civil Justice, 11 JUST. Sys. J. 321, 323

3 1991] JURORS' ATTITUDES ABOUT DAMAGE AWARDS 807 Would-be reformers portrayed the erratic behavior of juries as the primary cause of the insurance crisis. 6 To bolster their claims, they cited evidence of rapidly increasing awards and great variability across the country in awards for similar claims. 7 They also argued that juries were overly sympathetic to plaintiffs suing large corporations or other "deep pocket defendants." 8 The Rand Corporation Institute for Civil Justice and the American Bar Foundation recently conducted studies that examined the size and variability of jury verdicts. 9 The data from the Rand study on jury verdicts in San Francisco and Cook County (Illinois) from suggest two things. First, although the mean award in several "low-stakes" types of cases (e.g., automobile accidents, intentional torts) increased, plaintiffs in most jury trials received modest awards. 10 Second, while awards from Cook County juries increased substantially in a small fraction of cases, the median award did not increase. 1 Daniels and Martin collected data on state court jury verdicts in forty-three counties in ten states. 12 Their results indicate that median awards in most locations were modest (i.e., below $50,000), but that the size of awards did vary by locale (in a few locations, the median award exceeded $100,000). These researchers argue that large interstate variations dispel the notion that there is one clear national pattern. Therefore, empirical analyses of trends in jury verdicts suggest that reformers may have overstated their case by arguing that jury awards have increased dramatically in the recent past. Despite the questionable validity of these claims, the insurance industry successfully lobbied state legislatures to limit both the compensation available to plaintiffs and the options open to juries. This (1986) (discussing response to "deficiencies" in civil justice system that have resulted in increasingly pro-plaintiff liability and causation rules). 6. But see idi at 347 (questioning validity of argument that jury awards caused insurance crisis). 7. See Nutter, The Fight for CivilJustice Reform, 45 INS. REv. 2, 5-6 (1984) (noting increase in tort awards); What the U.S. Government Thinks About Tort Reform, 62 J. AM. INS. 23, 24 (1986) (arguing that explosive growth in tort damages has led to increased insurance costs). 8. But see Daniels & Martin, supra note 5, at 325 (concluding that there is no evidence to support view that juries are overly sympathetic to plaintiffs suing large corporations). 9. M. PETERSON, CIVIL JURIES IN THE 1980s: TRENDS INJURY TRIALS AND VERDICTS IN CALIFORNIA AND COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS (The Rand Corporation Institute for Civil Justice, 1987) [hereinafter Rand Study] (analyzing trends injury awards from 1980 to 1984 in Cook County, Illinois and San Francisco County, California); see also Daniels & Martin, supra note 5, at 323 (finding that data does not support proposition that number of lawsuits resulting in enormous awards have increased rapidly). 10. Rand Study, supra note 9, at v. 11. Id. 12. Daniels & Martin, supra note 5, at 328.

4 808 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 40:805 campaign also may have had a more subtle, yet more powerful, effect. Forecasts of an "insurance famine" 13 and "threats to the American way of life"' 14 may have affected potential jurors, who are, after all, consumers. The publicity may have influenced their decisions about damage awards for many years to come. One commentator has suggested that the victim of this publicity may be a plaintiff's constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair and impartial jury trial and that the effects of such publicity on potential jurors may be tantamount to jury tampering. 15 In the fall of 1989, Aetna Life Insurance Casualty ran a series of "public issue" newspaper advertisements under the slogan "Lawsuit abuse: Enough is enough."' 16 Aetna's campaign and other similar publicity may have biasedjurors. For example, a trial court in Texas excused for cause a potential juror in a medical malpractice case when he admitted that his exposure to pretrial publicity might interfere with his ability to render an impartial verdict. 17 Nevertheless, the trial court had refused to allow the plaintiff to question the entire jury about the alleged lawsuit crisis.' 8 The Texas Supreme Court, however, held that the media coverage of the lawsuit crisis and tort reform had created the potential for bias, and the court's refusal to allow the plaintiff to question potential jurors concerning this bias constituted a denial of a fair trial.' 9 The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between jurors' attitudes and beliefs about tort reform and their decisions in the context of a mock personal injury lawsuit. 20 One question this study sought to answer was whether jurors who accept insurers' claims that high damage awards lead to spiralling insurance costs would advocate smaller awards in cases they decide. A related question was whether jurors who believe that there is a "liti- 13. Reid, Insurance Famine Plagues Nation, Wash. Post, Feb. 23, 1986, at Al, col Gest & Work, Sky High Damage Suits: The Impact on Consumers, Business, and Professions U.S. NEws & WORLD REP., Jan. 27, 1986, at Pavalon, The Insurance Industry: Do Its Ads Undermine Juiy Impartiality?, A.B.A. J., Nov. 1989, at See Galanter, The Day After the Litigation Explosion, 46 MD. L. REv. 3, 4 (1986) (describing Aetna's campaign and advertisements). 17. See Babcock v. Northwest Memorial Hosp., 767 S.W.2d 705, 709 (Tex. 1989) (holding that trial court abused its discretion in not allowing counsel to voir dire jurors on media coverage of "insurance crisis"). 18. Id. 19. Id. at Another paper based on this study examines the impact on jurors' damage rewards of varying case facts and plaintiff characteristics. See Goodman, Greene & Loftus, Runaway Verdicts or Reasoned Determinations: Mock Juror Strategies in Awarding Damages, 29 JURIMETRICS J. 283, 308 (1989) (arguing that jurors try to make equitable awards, but not necessarily based on legally permissible means of computing damages). The analyses described here are being reported for the first time.

5 1991] JURORS' ATTITUDES ABOUT DAMAGE AWARDS 809 gation explosion" would attempt to contain costs by awarding less to the plaintiffs. On the other hand, jurors might assume that awards made in other cases reflect the "going rate" for different types of cases. 21 Some data support the contention that jurors are influenced by information presented in the media. For example, one study examined the effect on jurors of exposure to a single insurance advertisement about skyrocketing insurance costs resulting from inflated jury awards. 22 In this study, adults evaluated several magazine advertisements. The experimental group viewed a St. Paul Property and Liability Insurance Company advertisement that read, "Do you really think it's the insurance company that's paying for all those large jury awards? When awards are out of line, everyone pays more. In the form of higher insurance rates." 23 The control group did not read an insurance advertisement. All of the subjects returned the following day and participated in a mock jury study. The plaintiff in the case had been injured in an automobile accident. Mock jurors were asked to indicate what damages they deemed appropriate. The results showed that the subjects who had been exposed to the insurance advertisement awarded significantly less for pain and suffering than jurors who were not similarly exposed. 24 In contrast to previous research, the present study involved naturally-occurring exposure to publicity about tort reform in late 1986, when such publicity was at its height. We asked jurors about their familiarity with the publicity, but did not manipulate exposure. This study also differed from past efforts by using actual or prospective jurors. All the subjects in the study were either experienced or potential jurors awaiting jury selection. We asked jurors to read the facts of one of several types of wrongful death cases, decide on an appropriate damage award, and then answer a questionnaire concerning their beliefs about the tort reform movement and the "crisis" in civil litigation. 21. S. Daniels, Civil Juries, Civil Jury Verdict Reporters, and the Going Rate (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Law and Society Association in Chicago, 1986); H. Ross, SETfLED OUT OF COURT: THE SOCIAL PROGRESS OF INSURANCE CLAIMS (1970) (arguing that lawyers, juries, and insurance agencies look at jury awards in similar cases to determine how much a particular claim is worth). 22. Loftus, Insurance Advertising andjury Awards, A.B.A. J., Jan. 1979, at 68, Id. 24. Id, at 68.

6 810 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 40:805 I. METHOD A. Participants The participants were 213 experienced or potential jurors on call at the King County Courthouse in Seattle, Washington during the fall of Sixty-two percent of the subjects were female. The marital status of the subjects was as follows: fifteen percent never married, sixty-seven percent married, and seventeen percent divorced, separated or widowed. The mean age was forty-seven years. Approximately thirty-six percent had a university degree, and an equal number had completed some college courses. B. Procedure While the potential jurors were awaiting jury selection, the jury administrator invited them to participate in a study requiring approximately thirty minutes of their time. The volunteers received a packet containing a consent form, instructions, a written summary of a wrongful death case, and a questionnaire. They also received instructions to work independently. C. Materials The jurors first read a trial summary that gave a brief synopsis of the facts leading to the wrongful death of a plantiff. Eight different versions of facts were distributed. One group ofjurors read about a product liability case in which a thirty year old male was involved in a fatal accident caused by a malfunction of the accelerator pedal of his car. The second group read about a negligence case in which a fatal automobile accident occurred when a driver failed to stop for a thirty-year old male pedestrian. The third group read about a medical malpractice case in which medical personnel injected a thirtyyear old male patient with a substance to which they knew he was allergic. Groups four, five, and six read about the same three cases except that in each instance the decedent was a thirty-year old female. Group seven read the same product liability case as the first group but with a sixty-year old male plantiff. Group eight read this same product liability case with the ownership of the car slightly changed. We told the mock jurors that the plantiff had already proven the liability of the defendant and that their task was to determine an appropriate damage award. 2 5 After awarding damages, jurors responded to the following ques- 25. For a more complete description of the materials, see Goodman, Greene & Loftus, supra note 20, at 308.

7 1991] JURORS' ATrITUDES ABOUT DAMAGE AWARDS 811 tion: "I estimate that the percentage of plaintiffs who receive jury awards over a million dollars is about -%." Subsequently, they completed a brief attitude survey which consisted of twenty statements. The jurors indicated on a five-point scale (strongly agree, agree, no opinion, disagree, strongly disagree) the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each statement. The survey covered three main topics: (1) jurors' beliefs about the "insurance crisis" and the need for tort reform; (2) their assessment of the influence that the media has on attitudes about civil lawsuits; and (3) the credibility they attribute to attorneys and their willingness to award damages requested by attorneys. 26 Finally, they completed a short demographic survey. II. RESULTS A. Estimates of the Percentage of Plaintiffs Whose Awards Exceed $1 Million One question asked the jurors to estimate the percentage of plaintiffs who receive jury awards in excess of a million dollars. We compared their estimates with figures compiled by the Rand Study 26. Attitude Questionnaire: Indicate whether you agree or disagree with each of the following statements. In each case, assume that there is evidence showing the defendant is liable, and that the plaintiff is entitled to recover some money to compensate for an injury or damages. SA = Strongly agree A = Somewhat agree D = Somewhat disagree SD Strongly disagree N = No opinion 1. No one deserves more than a million dollars in damages. 2. I would use the figures the lawyers suggest in deciding how much money to award. 3. The media exaggerate the number of high jury awards. 4. The insurance industry is not experiencing a crisis because of high jury awards. 5. I would use the amount the lawyers suggest as a starting point, then subtract to arrive at a reasonable amount. 6. Only extraordinary or sensational cases are reported in the news. 7. There are too many lawsuits. 8. I would use the amount the lawyers suggest as a starting point, then add more to arrive at a reasonable amount. 9. People overestimate the number of high jury awards. 10. I would trust the figures lawyers suggest in asking for damages. 11. Most jury'awards are too high. 12. High jury awards lead to increased insurance premiums. 13. People underestimate the pain and suffering of someone who is seriously injured. 14. The insurance industry is in a crisis. 15. Newspapers led me to believe jury awards are too high. 16. Lawyers ask for twice as much in damages as is warranted. 17. Most jury awards are reasonable and justified. 18. Television led me to believe jury awards are too high. 19. Lawyers encourage people to file unnecessary lawsuits. 20. People underestimate the emotional impact of losing a loved one in an accident.

8 812 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 40:805 which indicate that less than six percent of trials won by plaintiffs result in damage awards of over one million dollars. 27 The jurors' CK 0 Io I.I z 00 C-) 5- a_ ESTIMATES OF THE PERCENTAGE OF PLAINTIFFS WHOSE AWARD EXCEEDS $1 MILLION Fieure 1. Percent of jurors who gave each ebtimate of likelihood of a million dollar award. estimates ranged widely, from a low of one percent to a high of eighty-five percent. The mean response was fifteen percent; the median was five percent. Surprisingly, eleven percent of the subjects indicated that at least half of all plaintiffs are awarded damages in excess of a million dollars. Forty percent of the jurors believed that between seven percent and forty-nine percent of all plaintiffs receive over a million dollars in damages. Fifty percent of the jurors gave estimates more in line with the Rand figure, that less than six percent of all damage awards exceed one million dollars. 28 Figure 1 shows the frequency distribution of jurors' responses to this question. 27. Rand Study, supra note 9, at 33. This study indicates that between 1980 and 1984, 5.6% of the plaintiffs who prevailed in San Francisco were awarded a million dollars or more. Id. In Cook County, plaintiffs received at least a million dollars in only 3.5%7 of the trials they won. Id. Percentages may vary in other parts of the country. 28. Id. at 52. The Rand data refer to the percentage of million dollar awards in cases in which the plaintiff prevailed. Id. This study asked about the percentage of plaintiffs who receive a million dollars or more without distinguishing between prevailing plaintiffs or all plaintiffs. If these jurors interpreted the question as referring to all plaintiffs, then an even greater discrepancy exists between their estimates and actual awards to plaintiffs.

9 1991] JURORS' ATTITUDES ABoUTr DAMAGE AWARDS 813 Figure 1 shows that a substantial number of potential jurors believe that million dollar awards are common. We wondered whether these individuals would award damages in a civil case differently than jurors whose beliefs were more realistic. B. Correlation Between Estimates of Percentage of Million Dollar Awards and Mock Juror Damage Awards We analyzed the data to determine the relationship between the jurors' beliefs about the percentage of plaintiffs who receive large damage awards and the amount they awarded in a mock personal injury case. In other words, we sought to determine whether ajuror who believes that million dollar awards are commonplace tends to award more or less than a juror who believes that million dollar awards are rare. Ifjurors believe that million dollar awards are common, they may award more because they use such awards to establish a "going rate." Alternatively, they may give smaller damage awards if they view these awards as excessive or extravagant. The mean damage award in the mock trial was $624,000; the median award was $410,000. Awards ranged from a low of $1,000 to a high of $10 million. To facilitate meaningful analysis, three awards that were very extreme, either low (e.g., $1,000) or high (e.g., $10 million) were omitted. 29 The remaining awards ranged from $5,000 to $4 million. We conducted the following analyses on these remaining responses. There was a significant positive correlation between jurors' estimates of the number of plaintiffs who receive large awards and jurors' damage awards in the mock trial. 30 The greater the presumed frequency of plaintiffs who receive million dollar damage awards, the larger the damage award in the mock trial. In other words, jurors who believed that million dollar awards were common tended to award more, not less. C. Responses to the Attitude Survey In the following sections, the results are organized by topic rather 29. The elimination of scores that are several standard deviations from the mean is common procedure for proper data analysis. The purpose of such elimination is to avoid any misleading skewing of the data that would result from including very extreme scores. 30. The statistical analysis revealed that r=.16 and p=.03. The symbol r represents the coefficient of correlation. ARMORE, INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND INFERENCE FOR PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION 429 (1967). This measures the degree to which two variables are related. Correlation coefficients can range from -1 (high negative correlation) to + 1 (high positive correlation). Id. The symbol p represents the significance level of the statistical test. The level p=.03 means that there is a.03 likelihood that the result is due to chance factors and a.97 likelihood that it is due to nonchance factors.

10 814 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 40:805 than the order in which jurors responded to the questions. For purposes of presenting the data, we combined the "strongly agree" and "agree" responses as well as the "disagree" and "strongly disagree" answers. The "no opinion" responses were discarded. 1. Beliefs about the tort reform movement and the "insurance crisis" When asked whether a litigation explosion has occurred, leading to a crisis in the insurance industry-the issue at the heart of the tort reform controversy-ninety-one percent of the jurors agreed that there are too many lawsuits. In a follow-up question, seventy-eight percent of the jurors agreed with the statement that one possible cause of the litigation explosion is that lawyers encourage people to file unnecessary lawsuits. Responses to a question about the existence of a crisis in the insurance industry indicated less consensus. Forty-eight percent of the jurors agreed that the insurance industry is experiencing a crisis. A similar question phrased in the negative produced consistent results; fifty-five percent of the respondents agreed that there is no insurance crisis. A number of survey questions probed the jurors' attitudes about large damage awards. When we asked the jurors whether there is a connection between high damage awards and escalating insurance premiums, they indicated their belief that insurance costs, and ultimately premiums for coverage, are affected by large damage awards. Eighty-seven percent of the jurors agreed that high jury awards lead to higher insurance premiums. We asked the jurors whether they believed that most jury awards are too high. Sixty-two percent of the subjects agreed with this statement. A related question asked if they believed that most jury awards are reasonable and justified. Only thirty percent felt that they are reasonable. We also asked the jurors whether they believe that most people overestimate the number of high jury awards. Eighty-four percent agreed with this statement. In addition, we asked for reactions to the statement, "No one deserves more than a million dollars in damages." Thirty-seven percent of the subjects agreed with this statement. To probe the subjects' attitudes concerning the aspects of damages most affected by tort reform, such as caps on monetary awards for pain and suffering and emotional losses, we asked if the jurors believed most people underestimate the pain and suffering of someone who is seriously injured. The responses indicated that sixty-six percent of the jurors agreed that damages for pain and suffering are

11 1991] JURORS' ATITUDES ABOUT DAMAGE AWARDS 815 underestimated. When asked whether they agree that people underestimate the emotional impact of losing a loved one in an accident, sixty-eight percent answered affirmatively. 2. The influence of the media on jurors' attitudes about civil lawsuits In order to ascertain the jurors' beliefs about the source of their attitudes, we asked whether they thought their attitudes were influenced by the media. In general, the subjects were more likely to attribute their beliefs to newspapers rather than television. Fiftyeight percent affirmed that newspapers had led them to believe that jury awards are too high; forty-four percent felt that they had been influenced by television coverage. We also asked the jurors if they believe that the media tend to exaggerate the number of high jury awards. Seventy-seven percent of the jurors agreed with this statement. In a related question, we asked whether jurors believe that the media report only extraordinary or sensational cases. Eighty-one percent of the respondents felt that this was the case. 3. Beliefs about attorney credibility Given that many jurors have been exposed to news reports about high jury awards, and because attorneys may be seen as partially responsible for the litigation explosion, we wondered whether jurors would be biased against the damage estimates of lawyers and, therefore, discount damage requests that lawyers present to juries. We asked four questions to assess this possibility. First, whether the jurors would trust the damage figures that lawyers suggest. Only twenty-three percent of the jurors indicated that they would trust the lawyers' figures. Second, we asked whether they would use the figures suggested by the lawyers in deciding how much money to award. The responses to this question also reflected a mistrust of lawyers; only forty percent of the jurors indicated that they would use this information in determining damages. We asked two further questions about the manner in which jurors might use the information provided by attorneys. Without referring specifically to the suggestions of either plaintiff or defense counsel, we asked jurors if they would use the amount suggested by the lawyers as a starting point, and then either subtract from or add to this amount to arrive at a reasonable sum. Fifty-three percent indicated that they would subtract from the amount suggested by the attorneys. Only sixteen percent indicated that they would add to the figure suggested by the attorneys.

12 816 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 40: Correlation between responses to attitude survey and mock juror damage awards We wondered whether there is a relationship between jurors' attitudes on issues such as tort reform, the influence of the media on jury awards, and the credibility of attorneys on one hand, and the damages they award in a particular personal injury case on the other hand. Recall that we informed the mock jurors that the plaintiff had already proved liability in the case and the jurors' only task was to compensate the plaintiff. To examine this issue, we recoded and combined the jurors' responses to the twenty attitudinal statements producing an overall total attitude score. Negative attitudes regarding damage awards (e.g., "no one deserves more than a million dollars in damages," "there are too many lawsuits") fell on the lower end of the scale, and positive attitudes towards damage awards (e.g., "the insurance industry is not experiencing a crisis because of large jury awards," "I would use the amount the lawyers suggest as a starting point, then add more to arrive at a reasonable amount") fell on the higher end of the scale. Responses generally favoring tort reform had lower numbers; responses generally unsupportive of tort reform had higher numbers. There was a significant positive correlation (r =.20, p =.005) between the jurors' total attitude score (the sum of the recoded responses to twenty attitude statements) and their damage awards in the personal injury case. Jurors who favored tort reforms gave lower awards; those who did not see the need for reform gave higher awards. III. DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between jurors' attitudes and their decisions. Do jurors' beliefs about the number of large jury awards in general affect their damage awards in a mock trial? We found a significant correlation between attitudes and verdicts: thejurors who agree that damage awards are excessive and that tort reform is necessary generally gave lower awards than their counterparts who did not see a need for tort reform. We also correlated the jurors' estimates of the percentage of plaintiffs awarded more than one million dollars with their own damage awards in the mock trial. A significant negative correlation might have suggested that the jurors "penalize" plaintiffs in the mock trial for what they perceive as excessive awards received by

13 1991] JURORS' ATrTFUDES ABOUT DAMAGE AWARDS other plaintiffs. Instead, a positive correlation was found between the awards in the mock trial and estimates of the frequency of large awards in other cases, suggesting that jurors use information about the rewards as a sort of benchmark; these awards set the "going rate." 3 With respect to insurance costs, the results of the attitude survey yielded a mixed picture. On one hand, a large majority of the jurors surveyed agreed that there has been a litigation explosion and that insurance costs have been affected by large damage awards. On the other hand, the jurors were apparently not persuaded that an insurance "crisis" exists. The data also suggest that a majority of the jurors would not penalize plaintiffs in civil suits based on their perception that insurance costs are rising. In fact, our findings suggest that under certain circumstances, jurors may be quite generous. A majority of the jurors agreed that some plaintiffs deserve in excess of one million dollars in damages, and that people may underestimate both the pain and suffering of injured.plaintiffs and the emotional impact of losing a loved one. The data on the jurors' attitudes toward the media and their beliefs about the credibility of attorneys are more dear: neither group garnered high marks. A majority of the subjects agreed that the media tend to exaggerate the number of high jury awards and report only extraordinary or sensational cases. Indeed, the media rarely report that in many cases involving substantial awards, the final disbursement is much smaller than the original verdict. The trial judge or appellate court may reduce the reward, the verdict may be reduced through post-verdict settlement discussions to avoid appeal, or the defendant may have inadequate assets or insurance to satisfy the judgement. 3 2 Attorneys generally received low marks for trustworthiness. A majority of the jurors agreed that attorneys encourage people to file frivolous lawsuits. Furthermore, most of the subjects said that they would not trust attorneys' estimates of appropriate damage awards. Other results suggest the jurors have not been "snowballed" by the claims made by the insurance industry. Although the respondents slightly overestimated the percentage of plaintiffs who receive 31. See supra note 21 and accompanying text (arguing that juries evaluate claims by looking at awards in other similar cases). Experienced lawyers learn that different juries will award similar damages for similar injuries. H. Ross, supra note 21, at See Broder, Characteristics of Million Dollar Awards: Jury Verdicts and Final Disbursements, 11 JusT. Sys.J. 349, 353 (1986) (finding that existing evidence indicates that plaintiffs' awards are usually reduced).

14 818 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 40:805 damage awards of one million dollars or more and a minority of the jurors' estimates were completely off-base, approximately half of the jurors gave reasonably accurate estimates that roughly five percent of winning plaintiffs receive awards of this size. 33 Professor Saks pondered the "large gap [that] exists between the widespread perception that the American litigation system is wildly out of control and the picture that emerges from an examination of the available evidence." 34 Our data suggest that the gap may be narrower than Saks implies. Despite the general belief among the jurors that there has been a litigation explosion in the face of empirical evidence suggesting otherwise, 35 and although jurors may agree that large damage awards result in higher insurance costs, there is little other data to indicate that jurors think the system is "wildly out of control." In fact, the jurors did not universally endorse the principles of tort reform, and many believe that some plaintiffs deserve substantial sums as compensation for their injuries. There are some clear limitations to generalizations based on these data. First, we sampled jurors from only one location. The amount or type of media coverage may vary considerably in different parts of the country. As a consequence, jurors in other locales may have different attitudes and beliefs about the issues studied. Second, jurors in our sample were fairly well-educated. More than one third of the respondents had college degrees, while another one third had some post-secondary education. (The educated jurors may have been more likely to volunteer to complete the survey). If the average level of education of most juries in the country is substantially lower than that of the jurors surveyed, the views discussed here may not accurately represent the views of all jurors. Finally, it is unclear how jurors' attitudes about the "insurance crisis" and the need for tort reform influence their verdicts in actual cases. Professor Visher suggests that jurors are generally able to judge a case on the merits of the evidence presented without being 33. See supra note 28 and accompanying text (comparing Rand estimates of million dollar awards with respondents' estimates). 34. See Saks, If There Be a Crisis, How Shall We Know It?, 46 MD. L. REV. 63, 74 (1986) (arguing that general litigation explosion has not occurred). 35. See Roper, The Propensity to Litigate in State Trial Courts, , , 11 JUST. Sys. J. 262, 264 (1986) (commenting that most cases are settled, withdrawn, or defaulted); Galanter, supra note 16, at 5 (criticizing view that American society is overly litigious); Galanter, Reading the Landscape of Disputes: What We Know and Don't Know (And Think We Know) About Our Allegedly Contentious and Litigious Society, 31 UCLA L. REv. 4, 5 (1983) (maintaining that only small number of injuries become disputes, and only small portion of disputes become lawsuits); McIntosh, 150 Years of Litigation and Dispute Settlement. A Court Tale, 15 LAw Soc'y REv. 823, ( ) (contending that courts try to settle tort cases).

15 1991] JURORS' ATTITUDES ABOUT DAMAGE AWARDS 819 influenced by extra-evidential information. 6 Until a study is conducted that compares jurors' attitudes with the verdicts they deliver in real cases, this question will remain unresolved. Since we conducted this study there have been numerous developments that have changed the nature of the debate about tort reform, the "insurance crisis," and the "litigation explosion." First, in the late 1980s, courts across the country began to strike down laws limiting damage awards in certain kinds of cases. In 1988, for example, the Kansas Supreme Court voided a law providing for maximum total damages of one million dollars for medical malpractice cases and $250,000 for "non-economic losses" such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and injury and disfigurement not affecting earning capacity. 3 7 Other courts also have upheld large damage awards, declaring limits on damage awards to be unconstitutional. 38 Second, one commentator cited an alternative explanation for the "litigation explosion"-increased filings by corporations relating to contract disputes. 3 9 This suggests that one of the assumptions underlying the tort reform movement, that the increase in the number of tort cases is virtually out of control, may be based on inaccurate information. 40 Finally, twenty states filed antitrust lawsuits against four major insurance companies and other defendants, alleging that they had illegally conspired to limit the availability of commercial general liability insurance in order to cut the costs of defending against claims. Predictably, the latest round of charges has "reignited the debate over the liability crisis and prompted a new barrage of rhetoric and namecalling. ' '4 1 These recent developments and publicity could influence juries in new ways. Will there be a backlash against the insurance industry? Or, will jurors ignore the latest installment of polemics and judge 36. VisherJuror Decsion Making: The Importance of Evidence, 11 LAw & HUM. BEHAV. 1, 13 (1987). 37. Kansas Malpractice Victims Coalition v. Bell, 757 P.2d 251, 263 (Kan. 1988). But see Samsel v. Wheeler Transp. Serv., 789 P.2d 541, 558 (Kan. 1989) (upholding cap limiting plaintiffs to $250,000 for non-economic losses in personal injury cases). 38. See Lucas v. United States, 757 S.W.2d 687, 692 (Tex. 1988) (voiding medical malpractice damage award cap of$150,000); Smith v. Department of Ins., 507 So. 2d 1080, (Fla. 1987) (holding that $450,000 statutory cap on noneconomic damages violated state constitution); Duren v. Suburban Community Hosp., 495 N.E. 2d 51, 56 (Ohio 1985) (upholding one million dollar award for pain and suffering, invalidating statutory cap of $200,000 for malpractice awards). 39. Barrett, Litigation Boom? Professor Turns Up a New Culprit, Wall. St.J., Oct. 17, 1988, at BI. 40. See id. (finding that between 1960 and 1986, number of tort cases filed in federal court increased 114%, while number of contract cases rose 258%). 41. Reske, Was There a Liability Crisis?, 75 A.B.A. J., Jan. 1989, at 46, 46. The states claimed that the insurance industry was largely responsible for the liability crisis. Id.

16 820 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 40:805 cases on the evidence and merits to award damages that are fair, reasonable, and appropriate?

Common Myths About Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases 1. By B. Keith Williams

Common Myths About Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases 1. By B. Keith Williams Common Myths About Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases 1 By B. Keith Williams There are several myths about accident cases and the attorneys that handle them. It is important to keep these myths in

More information

MODEL JURY SELECTION QUESTIONS

MODEL JURY SELECTION QUESTIONS MODEL JURY SELECTION QUESTIONS Standard Jury Voir Dire Civil [] 1. In order to be qualified under New Jersey law to serve on a jury, a person must have certain qualifying characteristics. A juror must

More information

Medical Malpractice VOIR DIRE QUESTIONS

Medical Malpractice VOIR DIRE QUESTIONS Medical Malpractice VOIR DIRE QUESTIONS INTRODUCTION: Tell the jurors that this is a very big and a very important case. Do a SHORT summary of the case and the damages we are seeking. This summary should

More information

Advocate Magazine March 2011. Why medical malpractice still matters.

Advocate Magazine March 2011. Why medical malpractice still matters. Advocate Magazine March 2011 Why medical malpractice still matters. Despite MICRA limitations, medical-negligence claims still have a crucial role in society BY BRUCE G. FAGEL We all know the statistics

More information

A REASONABLE PERSPECTIVE ON RECREATIONAL INJURY LIABILITY

A REASONABLE PERSPECTIVE ON RECREATIONAL INJURY LIABILITY A REASONABLE PERSPECTIVE ON RECREATIONAL INJURY LIABILITY James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D. 1988 James C. Kozlowski Driving an automobile is probably the most dangerous activity in our daily lives. Certainly,

More information

THE THREAT OF BAD FAITH LITIGATION ETHICAL HANDLING OF CLAIMS AND GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT PRACTICES. By Craig R. White

THE THREAT OF BAD FAITH LITIGATION ETHICAL HANDLING OF CLAIMS AND GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT PRACTICES. By Craig R. White THE THREAT OF BAD FAITH LITIGATION ETHICAL HANDLING OF CLAIMS AND GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT PRACTICES By Craig R. White SKEDSVOLD & WHITE, LLC. 1050 Crown Pointe Parkway Suite 710 Atlanta, Georgia 30338 (770)

More information

PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS IN NEVADA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM. Carl Tobias*

PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS IN NEVADA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM. Carl Tobias* PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS IN NEVADA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM Carl Tobias* In late July 2002, a special session of the Nevada Legislature passed medical malpractice reform legislation. 1 The expressly-stated

More information

7things. to look for when hiring a personal injury law firm in California. by John N. Demas, Attorney at Law

7things. to look for when hiring a personal injury law firm in California. by John N. Demas, Attorney at Law 7things to look for when hiring a personal injury law firm in California by John N. Demas, Attorney at Law 701 Howe Avenue, Suite A-1 Sacramento, CA 95825 (916) 444-0100 www.injury-attorneys.com Seven

More information

Public Policy Position

Public Policy Position ISSUE In line with the overall tort system, the purpose of medical malpractice liability is to compensate patients who suffer an injury as a result of medical negligence. However, an effective tort system

More information

Factors Affecting Jury Damages Awards Decisions

Factors Affecting Jury Damages Awards Decisions Factors Affecting Jury Damages Awards Decisions By Dorothy K. Kagehiro, Ph.D. The use of experts in federal trials has remained fairly consistent across time. In a 1998 survey of 303 United States District

More information

PENNSYLVANIA MALPRACTICE STUDY

PENNSYLVANIA MALPRACTICE STUDY The Project on Medical Liability in Pennsylvania Funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts PENNSYLVANIA MALPRACTICE STUDY General Public Survey Small Business Survey Conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates,

More information

The Effect of Product Safety Regulatory Compliance

The Effect of Product Safety Regulatory Compliance PRODUCT LIABILITY Product Liability Litigation The Effect of Product Safety Regulatory Compliance By Kenneth Ross Product liability litigation and product safety regulatory activities in the U.S. and elsewhere

More information

The Effects of Tort Reforms on the Frequency and Severity of Medical Malpractice Claims

The Effects of Tort Reforms on the Frequency and Severity of Medical Malpractice Claims The Ohio State University Knowledge Bank kb.osu.edu Ohio State Law Journal (Moritz College of Law) Ohio State Law Journal: Volume 48, Issue 2 (1987) 1987 The Effects of Tort Reforms on the Frequency and

More information

What to expect when you are injured in a New York accident!

What to expect when you are injured in a New York accident! What to expect when you are injured in a New York accident! An ebook by Stuart DiMartini 1325 Sixth Avenue, 27 th Floor New York, NY 10019 dimartinilaw.com 2012 Law Offices of Stuart DiMartini P a g e

More information

This briefing paper summarizes the measures the Montana Legislature has put into place to improve the state's medical liability climate.

This briefing paper summarizes the measures the Montana Legislature has put into place to improve the state's medical liability climate. SRJ 35: Study of Health Care Medical Malpractice: Montana's Approach to Limiting Liability by Sue O'Connell, Research Analyst Prepared for the Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee

More information

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION EIGHT

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION EIGHT Filed 10/11/13 CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION EIGHT ED AGUILAR, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. B238853 (Los Angeles County

More information

Table of Contents. 1. What should I do when the other driver s insurance company contacts me?... 1

Table of Contents. 1. What should I do when the other driver s insurance company contacts me?... 1 Table of Contents 1. What should I do when the other driver s insurance company contacts me?... 1 2. Who should be paying my medical bills from a car accident injury?... 2 3. What should I do after the

More information

WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL LIABILITY & PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSOR STEVEN M. PAVSNER SYLLABUS

WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL LIABILITY & PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSOR STEVEN M. PAVSNER SYLLABUS I. Synopsis WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL LIABILITY & PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSOR STEVEN M. PAVSNER SYLLABUS The objective of the seminar, Medical Liability and Public Health, is to

More information

Testing the Comparative Negligence Affirmative Defense

Testing the Comparative Negligence Affirmative Defense Testing the Comparative Negligence Affirmative Defense Copyright 2001, Defense Research Institute, Inc. First published in the December 2001 issue of For The Defense by Aaron Abbott, Ph.D. and Gus von

More information

Reptile Theory: A Tail of Two Reptiles. Julia B. Semenak

Reptile Theory: A Tail of Two Reptiles. Julia B. Semenak Reptile Theory: A Tail of Two Reptiles Julia B. Semenak If phrases like safety rules and community safety sound familiar, you have likely encountered a plaintiff s lawyer using the strategies set forth

More information

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE FEBRUARY 2005

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE FEBRUARY 2005 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE FEBRUARY 2005 Are high insurance rates driving obstetricians and gynecologists out of business or reducing access to health care? The Congressional

More information

FOR PROPERTY LOSS AND DAMAGE 1

FOR PROPERTY LOSS AND DAMAGE 1 13-20-801. Short title Colorado Revised Statutes Title 13; Article 20; Part 8: CONSTRUCTION DEFECT ACTIONS FOR PROPERTY LOSS AND DAMAGE 1 This part 8 shall be known and may be cited as the Construction

More information

Arizona State Senate Issue Paper June 22, 2010 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE. Statute of Limitations. Note to Reader: INTRODUCTION

Arizona State Senate Issue Paper June 22, 2010 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE. Statute of Limitations. Note to Reader: INTRODUCTION Arizona State Senate Issue Paper June 22, 2010 Note to Reader: The Senate Research Staff provides nonpartisan, objective legislative research, policy analysis and related assistance to the members of the

More information

The Ultimate Guide to Winning Your Personal Injury Case Table of Contents

The Ultimate Guide to Winning Your Personal Injury Case Table of Contents Table of Contents Introduction 3 Why Not Settle With the Insurance Companies 4 What to do First 7 Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer 11 How Much is My Claim Worth? 14 What if I have a Pre-Existing Condition?

More information

What Trustees Should Know About Florida s New Attorneys Fee Statute. By David P. Hathaway and David J. Akins. Introduction

What Trustees Should Know About Florida s New Attorneys Fee Statute. By David P. Hathaway and David J. Akins. Introduction What Trustees Should Know About Florida s New Attorneys Fee Statute By David P. Hathaway and David J. Akins Introduction More and more lawsuits are filed in Florida alleging that the trustee of a trust

More information

THE TRIAL OF A LEGAL MALPRACTICE CASE: SELECTED PRACTICAL ISSUES BY: DAVID C. PISHKO ELLIOT PISHKO MORGAN, P.A. WINSTON-SALEM, NC

THE TRIAL OF A LEGAL MALPRACTICE CASE: SELECTED PRACTICAL ISSUES BY: DAVID C. PISHKO ELLIOT PISHKO MORGAN, P.A. WINSTON-SALEM, NC THE TRIAL OF A LEGAL MALPRACTICE CASE: SELECTED PRACTICAL ISSUES BY: DAVID C. PISHKO ELLIOT PISHKO MORGAN, P.A. WINSTON-SALEM, NC The trial of a legal malpractice action raises several practical issues

More information

FREE SPECIAL REPORT WANT TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY? WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HAVE TO KNOW WHEN BUYING CAR INSURANCE.

FREE SPECIAL REPORT WANT TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY? WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HAVE TO KNOW WHEN BUYING CAR INSURANCE. FREE SPECIAL REPORT WANT TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY? WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HAVE TO KNOW WHEN BUYING CAR INSURANCE. Keep reading to learn What are your chances of having an accident in Kentucky with

More information

****************************************************** The officially released date that appears near the beginning of each opinion is the date the

****************************************************** The officially released date that appears near the beginning of each opinion is the date the ****************************************************** The officially released date that appears near the beginning of each opinion is the date the opinion will be published in the Connecticut Law Journal

More information

Construction Defect Action Reform Act

Construction Defect Action Reform Act COLORADO REVISED STATUTES Title 13. Courts and Court Procedure Damages Regulation of Actions and Proceedings Article 20. Actions Part 8. Construction Defect Actions for Property Loss and Damage Construction

More information

How Do People Settle Disputes? How a Civil Trial Works in California

How Do People Settle Disputes? How a Civil Trial Works in California Article brought to you by the Administrative Office of the California Courts and California Council for the Social Studies in partnership for Civic Education How Do People Settle Disputes? How a Civil

More information

Medical Negligence Litigation in Illinois: Facts and Figures By John L. Kirkton

Medical Negligence Litigation in Illinois: Facts and Figures By John L. Kirkton Medical Negligence Litigation in Illinois: Facts and Figures By John L. Kirkton We have all seen the misinformation about medical negligence litigation that has been stated as fact by insurance lobbyists

More information

Scaled Questions During Jury Selection

Scaled Questions During Jury Selection Scaled Questions During Jury Selection By: Ben Rubinowitz and Evan Torgan One of the most crucial tasks a trial attorney must undertake is selecting a pool of jurors that will view her client's case in

More information

The Keys To An Effective Medical Malpractice Defense

The Keys To An Effective Medical Malpractice Defense The Keys To An Effective Medical Malpractice Defense By Thomas M. O Toole, Ph.D. Some research has shown, while as little as 1% of the lawsuits filed each year in the United States actually make it to

More information

How Insurance Reform Lowered Doctors Medical Malpractice Rates in California

How Insurance Reform Lowered Doctors Medical Malpractice Rates in California 1750 Ocean Park Boulevard, #200, Santa Monica, CA 90405-4938 Tel: 310-392-0522 Fax: 310-392-8874 Net: consumerwatchdog.org How Insurance Reform Lowered Doctors Medical Malpractice Rates in California And

More information

KANSAS ASSOCIATION OF DEFENSE COUNSEL 825 S Kansas Avenue - Suite 500, Topeka, KS 66612 Telephone: 785.232.9091 Fax: 785.233.2206 www.kadc.

KANSAS ASSOCIATION OF DEFENSE COUNSEL 825 S Kansas Avenue - Suite 500, Topeka, KS 66612 Telephone: 785.232.9091 Fax: 785.233.2206 www.kadc. KANSAS ASSOCIATION OF DEFENSE COUNSEL 825 S Kansas Avenue - Suite 500, Topeka, KS 66612 Telephone: 785.232.9091 Fax: 785.233.2206 www.kadc.org TO: FROM: Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary Timothy Finnerty

More information

Chapter 4 Crimes (Review)

Chapter 4 Crimes (Review) Chapter 4 Crimes (Review) On a separate sheet of paper, write down the answer to the following Q s; if you do not know the answer, write down the Q. 1. What is a crime? 2. There are elements of a crime.

More information

TIPS AND ADVICE TO ENSURE THE BEST OUTCOME FOR YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE.

TIPS AND ADVICE TO ENSURE THE BEST OUTCOME FOR YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE. A CONSUMER S GUIDE TO A SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM TIPS AND ADVICE TO ENSURE THE BEST OUTCOME FOR YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE. MATERIAL PROVIDED BY: DICAUDO & YODER, LLC A CONSUMER S GUIDE TO A SUCCESSFUL

More information

QUESTION NO. 3. Amendment to Titles 1 and 3 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. CONDENSATION (ballot question)

QUESTION NO. 3. Amendment to Titles 1 and 3 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. CONDENSATION (ballot question) QUESTION NO. 3 Amendment to Titles 1 and 3 of the Nevada Revised Statutes CONDENSATION (ballot question) Shall Title 1 of the Nevada Revised Statutes governing attorneys, and Title 3 of the Nevada Revised

More information

No-Fault Automobile Insurance

No-Fault Automobile Insurance No-Fault Automobile Insurance By Margaret C. Jasper, Esq. Prior to the enactment of state no-fault insurance legislation, recovery for personal injuries sustained in an automobile accident were subject

More information

Georgia Board for Physician Workforce

Georgia Board for Physician Workforce Board for Physician Workforce Spotlight on National Tort Reform & Reform in the Surrounding States August 2010 Tort reform continues to be a highly debated issue at both the state and national level. In

More information

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE MAY 2006

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE MAY 2006 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE MAY 2006 How serious a problem is medical malpractice? According to the Institute of Medicine, a 1999 study showed that at least 44,000 and as many

More information

HOW JURIES CALCULATE MISSOURI PERSONAL INJURY AWARDS

HOW JURIES CALCULATE MISSOURI PERSONAL INJURY AWARDS HOW JURIES CALCULATE MISSOURI PERSONAL INJURY AWARDS Leaving the final decision on compensation in the hands of a jury is always a risk, one that most both parties in a personal injury case often prefer

More information

WV-ACC 5 th Annual Meeting Saturday, November 20 Charleston, WV. Senator Evan H. Jenkins. Executive Director, West Virginia State Medical Association

WV-ACC 5 th Annual Meeting Saturday, November 20 Charleston, WV. Senator Evan H. Jenkins. Executive Director, West Virginia State Medical Association WV-ACC 5 th Annual Meeting Saturday, November 20 Charleston, WV Senator Evan H. Jenkins Executive Director, West Virginia State Medical Association Medical Politics - Overview Health Care Policy under

More information

Cardelli Lanfear P.C.

Cardelli Lanfear P.C. Michigan Prepared by Cardelli Lanfear P.C. 322 West Lincoln Royal Oak, MI 48067 Tel: 248.850.2179 Fax: 248.544.1191 1. Introduction History of Tort Reform in Michigan Michigan was one of the first states

More information

Reed Armstrong Quarterly

Reed Armstrong Quarterly Reed Armstrong Quarterly January 2009 http://www.reedarmstrong.com/default.asp Contributors: William B. Starnes II Tori L. Cox IN THIS ISSUE: Joint and Several Liability The Fault of Settled Tortfeasors

More information

Personal Injury Law: Minnesota Medical Malpractice

Personal Injury Law: Minnesota Medical Malpractice Personal Injury Law: Minnesota Medical Malpractice Medical Malpractice Terms Statutes of Limitations Minnesota Medical Malpractice Laws Medical malpractice includes many forms of liability producing conduct

More information

Expert Reports and the Texas Medical Liability Act

Expert Reports and the Texas Medical Liability Act Expert Reports and the Texas Medical Liability Act Dana Helms, J.D., LL.M candidate (Health Law) dehelms@central.uh.edu Passed in 2003, the Texas Medical Liability Act 1 was the Texas Legislature s response

More information

Policy Brief January 2011

Policy Brief January 2011 Policy Brief January 2011 Bonds. Appeal Bonds. Protecting the Right to Appeal in the Era of Multimillion Dollar Verdicts Prepared by Chris McIsaac Sponsors of the Arizona Chamber Foundation are leaders

More information

Do You Have a Case? Truck Accident. ebooklet. Andrew Miller. 201 South 3rd Street Logansport, IN 46947 P: (574) 722-6676. www.starrausten.

Do You Have a Case? Truck Accident. ebooklet. Andrew Miller. 201 South 3rd Street Logansport, IN 46947 P: (574) 722-6676. www.starrausten. Do You Have a Case? Truck Accident ebooklet Andrew Miller 201 South 3rd Street Logansport, IN 46947 P: (574) 722-6676 www.starrausten.com Disclaimer No attempt is made to establish an attorney-client relationship

More information

Lowcountry Injury Law

Lowcountry Injury Law Lowcountry Injury Law 1917 Lovejoy Street Post Office Drawer 850 Beaufort, South Carolina 29901 Personal Injury Phone (843) 524-9445 Auto Accidents Fax (843) 532-9254 Workers Comp DanDenton@Lawyer.com

More information

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers 2014 Granby Street, Suite 200 Norfolk, VA, 23517 (757) 455-0077 (866) 455-6657 (Toll Free) YOUR RIGHTS WHEN YOU ARE INJURED ON THE RAILROAD Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers 2014

More information

2013 IL App (1st) 120898-U. No. 1-12-0898

2013 IL App (1st) 120898-U. No. 1-12-0898 2013 IL App (1st) 120898-U FOURTH DIVISION March 28, 2013 No. 1-12-0898 NOTICE: This order was filed under Supreme Court Rule 23 and may not be cited as precedent by any party except in the limited circumstances

More information

No. 2--07--1205 Filed: 12-19-08 IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS SECOND DISTRICT

No. 2--07--1205 Filed: 12-19-08 IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS SECOND DISTRICT Filed: 12-19-08 IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS SECOND DISTRICT WESTPORT INSURANCE Appeal from the Circuit Court CORPORATION, of McHenry County. Plaintiff and Counterdefendant-Appellee, v. No. 04--MR--53

More information

trial court and Court of Appeals found that the Plaintiff's case was barred by the statute of limitations.

trial court and Court of Appeals found that the Plaintiff's case was barred by the statute of limitations. RESULTS Appellate Court upholds decision that malpractice action barred September 2, 2015 The South Carolina Court of Appeals recently upheld a summary judgment obtained by David Overstreet and Mike McCall

More information

Auto accidents can cause thousands or even millions of dollars in losses due to medical expenditures, an inability to work, a reduction in future

Auto accidents can cause thousands or even millions of dollars in losses due to medical expenditures, an inability to work, a reduction in future TEXAS AUTO ACCIDENTS Auto accidents can cause thousands or even millions of dollars in losses due to medical expenditures, an inability to work, a reduction in future earnings, or the untimely death of

More information

MEDIATION STRATEGIES: WHAT PLAINTIFFS REALLY WANT By Jim Bleeke, SweetinBleeke Attorneys

MEDIATION STRATEGIES: WHAT PLAINTIFFS REALLY WANT By Jim Bleeke, SweetinBleeke Attorneys MEDIATION STRATEGIES: WHAT PLAINTIFFS REALLY WANT By Jim Bleeke, SweetinBleeke Attorneys As defense attorneys, we often focus most of our efforts on assembling the most crucial facts and the strongest

More information

If you have been sued as a defendant in a civil case...keep reading.

If you have been sued as a defendant in a civil case...keep reading. If you have been sued as a defendant in a civil case...keep reading. Court procedures can be complex. This brochure was developed to help Ohioans who are considering representing themselves in court. It

More information

A CONSUMER GUIDE TO FAIR LENDING

A CONSUMER GUIDE TO FAIR LENDING FAIR HOUSING LEGAL SUPPORT CENTER A CONSUMER GUIDE TO FAIR LENDING AND HOME OWNERSHIP PRESERVATION A CONSUMER GUIDE TO FAIR LENDING AND HOME OWNERSHIP PRESERVATION OVERVIEW This guide explains your right

More information

UNDERSTANDING TORT REFORM

UNDERSTANDING TORT REFORM A White Paper Presented by UNDERSTANDING TORT REFORM A ROADMAP UNDERSTANDING TORT REFORM A ROADMAP If you lived in California during the 2014 election cycle, you may have heard of something called tort

More information

10 Things You Must Know Before You Find a Seattle Injury Attorney

10 Things You Must Know Before You Find a Seattle Injury Attorney 10 Things You Must Know Before You Find a H Seattle Injury Attorney www.seattleinjuryattorneyfaq.com 1 Should I get an attorney if I am in a car accident? If you have been hurt or have serious injuries,

More information

PARRY G. CAMERON, Senior Attorney

PARRY G. CAMERON, Senior Attorney Phone: 310.557.2009 Fax: 310.551.0283 Email: pcameron@tocounsel.com Parry Cameron has over twenty-three years experience in commercial and business litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. He

More information

Does Texas Need a Workers Compensation System? Bill Peacock Texas Public Policy Foundation

Does Texas Need a Workers Compensation System? Bill Peacock Texas Public Policy Foundation Does Texas Need a Workers Compensation System? Bill Peacock Texas Public Policy Foundation Beginnings of Workers Compensation Liability and Litigation in the 19 th Century The problem of industrial accidents

More information

Monday, September 18, 2010. Hightower v. Baylor University Medical Center Cause No. 05-10-00300-CV Fifth District Court of Appeals. Teaching Materials

Monday, September 18, 2010. Hightower v. Baylor University Medical Center Cause No. 05-10-00300-CV Fifth District Court of Appeals. Teaching Materials Monday, September 18, 2010 Hightower v. Baylor University Medical Center Cause No. 05-10-00300-CV Fifth District Court of Appeals Teaching Materials The Facts... 1 The Trial Court Proceeding... 1 The Appeal...

More information

THE AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE Continuing Legal Education

THE AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE Continuing Legal Education 9 THE AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE Continuing Legal Education Third Party Litigation Funding: Pros, Cons, and How It Works November 1, 2012 Telephone Seminar/Audio Webcast Alternative Litigation Funding Conference

More information

Eleventh Court of Appeals

Eleventh Court of Appeals Opinion filed June 14, 2012 In The Eleventh Court of Appeals No. 11-10-00281-CV RSL FUNDING, LLC, Appellant V. AEGON STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS, INC. AND MONUMENTAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellees On Appeal

More information

TORT AND INSURANCE LAW REPORTER. Informal Discovery Interviews Between Defense Attorneys and Plaintiff's Treating Physicians

TORT AND INSURANCE LAW REPORTER. Informal Discovery Interviews Between Defense Attorneys and Plaintiff's Treating Physicians This article originally appeared in The Colorado Lawyer, Vol. 25, No. 26, June 1996. by Jeffrey R. Pilkington TORT AND INSURANCE LAW REPORTER Informal Discovery Interviews Between Defense Attorneys and

More information

You ve Been Sued, Now What? A Roadmap Through An Employment Lawsuit

You ve Been Sued, Now What? A Roadmap Through An Employment Lawsuit You ve Been Sued, Now What? A Roadmap Through An Employment Lawsuit California employers facing their first employment lawsuit can be in for a rude awakening. Such lawsuits are a harsh introduction to

More information

How To Determine The Value Of A Personal Injury Case

How To Determine The Value Of A Personal Injury Case How To Determine The Value Of A Personal Injury Case What Is Your Car Accident Case Really Worth? By Christopher M. Davis, Attorney at Law 206-727-4000 Phone: 206-727-4000 Fax: 206-727-4001 info@injurytriallawyer.com

More information

Injured on the Job. Your Rights under FELA. Quick Facts: What To Do If Injured

Injured on the Job. Your Rights under FELA. Quick Facts: What To Do If Injured Injured on the Job Your Rights under FELA Quick Facts: What To Do If Injured 1. Consult your own doctor for treatment. Give your doctor a complete history of how your injury happened. Make sure that the

More information

STATEMENT OF CHERYL NIRO. Incoming Member, Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability Member, House of Delegates

STATEMENT OF CHERYL NIRO. Incoming Member, Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability Member, House of Delegates STATEMENT OF CHERYL NIRO Incoming Member, Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability Member, House of Delegates On Behalf of the AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION Before the Committee on Health, Education,

More information

Defining Aggregate Settlements: the Road Not to Take. By: Peter R. Jarvis and Trisha M. Rich. Summary and Introduction

Defining Aggregate Settlements: the Road Not to Take. By: Peter R. Jarvis and Trisha M. Rich. Summary and Introduction Defining Aggregate Settlements: the Road Not to Take By: Peter R. Jarvis and Trisha M. Rich I Summary and Introduction ABA Model Rule 1.8(g) provides that: A lawyer who represents two or more clients shall

More information

IMPROVING SETTLEMENT SAVVY. Kathy Perkins Kathy Perkins LLC, Workplace Law & Mediation www.kathy-perkins.com

IMPROVING SETTLEMENT SAVVY. Kathy Perkins Kathy Perkins LLC, Workplace Law & Mediation www.kathy-perkins.com IMPROVING SETTLEMENT SAVVY Kathy Perkins Kathy Perkins LLC, Workplace Law & Mediation www.kathy-perkins.com In these difficult economic times, parties may be looking to reduce litigation costs and risk

More information

Trial Court. Supreme Court Analysis

Trial Court. Supreme Court Analysis Illinois Supreme Court Declares State Malpractice Law Unconstitutional By Craig A. Conway, J.D., LL.M. (Health Law) caconway@central.uh.edu Earlier this month, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a

More information

Attorneys at Law. Telephone: (312) 262 6700 Facsimile: (312) 262 6710. 30 N LaSalle Street Suite 1524 Chicago, IL 60602. www.mossingnavarrelaw.

Attorneys at Law. Telephone: (312) 262 6700 Facsimile: (312) 262 6710. 30 N LaSalle Street Suite 1524 Chicago, IL 60602. www.mossingnavarrelaw. 30 N LaSalle Street Suite 1524 Chicago, IL 60602 Telephone: (312) 262 6700 Facsimile: (312) 262 6710 Attorneys at Law THE FIRM With over 40 years of combined litigation experience, Adria Mossing and Jim

More information

Managing Jones Act Personal Injury Litigation The Vessel Owner s Perspective. Lawrence R. DeMarcay, III

Managing Jones Act Personal Injury Litigation The Vessel Owner s Perspective. Lawrence R. DeMarcay, III Managing Jones Act Personal Injury Litigation The Vessel Owner s Perspective by Lawrence R. DeMarcay, III Presented to the Offshore Marine Services Association / Loyola College of Law Industry Seminar

More information

Table of Contents. Selected Iowa Wrongful Death Laws and Rules

Table of Contents. Selected Iowa Wrongful Death Laws and Rules Table of Contents 1. What is a wrongful death claim?... 2 2. Who may recover compensation for a wrongful death?... 3 3. How is a wrongful death claim commenced?... 4 4. What types of losses are compensated

More information

AGENDA 2005: A GUIDE TO THE ISSUES GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION. Legal Reform

AGENDA 2005: A GUIDE TO THE ISSUES GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION. Legal Reform Legal Reform Agenda Ensure that Georgia s tort and contract laws do not discourage the development of business in the state Ensure that Georgia s procedural laws are appropriate for the equitable distribution

More information

Health Law Update By: Roger R. Clayton, Mark D. Hansen, and J. Matthew Thompson Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C., Peoria

Health Law Update By: Roger R. Clayton, Mark D. Hansen, and J. Matthew Thompson Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C., Peoria Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel Springfield, Illinois www.iadtc.org 800-232-0169 IDC Quarterly Volume 24, Number 1 (24.1.62) Health Law Update By: Roger R. Clayton, Mark D. Hansen, and J.

More information

PCI SPECIAL REPORT Oct. 27, 2011

PCI SPECIAL REPORT Oct. 27, 2011 PCI SPECIAL REPORT Oct. 27, 2011 Florida s Automobile No Fault Insurance: A System Under Siege by Fraud and Abuse Executive Summary Over the last several years, pervasive fraud in Florida s no fault auto

More information

Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.

Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute. Proposition 46 Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute. Yes/No Statement A YES vote on this measure means: The cap on medical malpractice damages for such things

More information

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION THREE

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION THREE Filed 1/9/02; pub. order 1/28/02 (see end of opn.) IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION THREE ISRAEL P. CHAMBI, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. THE REGENTS OF

More information

Professional Practice 544

Professional Practice 544 February 15, 2016 Professional Practice 544 Tort Law and Insurance Michael J. Hanahan Schiff Hardin LLP 233 S. Wacker, Ste. 6600 Chicago, IL 60606 312-258-5701 mhanahan@schiffhardin.com Schiff Hardin LLP.

More information

PREVIEW PLEASE DO NOT COPY THIS DOCUMENT THANK YOU. LegalFormsForTexas.Com

PREVIEW PLEASE DO NOT COPY THIS DOCUMENT THANK YOU. LegalFormsForTexas.Com Form: Plaintiff's original petition-wrongful Death [Name], PLAINTIFF vs. [Name], DEFENDANT [ IN THE [Type of Court] COURT [Court number] PLAINTIFF'S ORIGINAL PETITION 1. DISCOVERY CONTROL PLAN 1.1 Plaintiff

More information

$1.7M For Botched Laser-Eye Surgery Suggests New Mass Tort By Genevieve Haas

$1.7M For Botched Laser-Eye Surgery Suggests New Mass Tort By Genevieve Haas Page 1 of 5 USA Newspaper Subscribers Only REGISTER HERE (paper subscribers only) USA Archives (all years) Free Opinions Daily Alert Practice-Area Alert Specialty Pages (cases, articles & more) Bankruptcy

More information

IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FIRST DISTRICT

IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FIRST DISTRICT 2016 IL App (1st) 150810-U Nos. 1-15-0810, 1-15-0942 cons. Fourth Division June 30, 2016 NOTICE: This order was filed under Supreme Court Rule 23 and may not be cited as precedent by any party except in

More information

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA CASE NO. SC05-1150 COMMENTS OF DAN CYTRYN, ESQUIRE OF LAW OFFICES CYTRYN & SANTANA, P.A.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA CASE NO. SC05-1150 COMMENTS OF DAN CYTRYN, ESQUIRE OF LAW OFFICES CYTRYN & SANTANA, P.A. IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA CASE NO. SC05-1150 IN RE: PETITION TO AMEND RULE 4-1.5(F)(4)(B) OF THE RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT / COMMENTS OF DAN CYTRYN, ESQUIRE OF LAW OFFICES CYTRYN & SANTANA, P.A.

More information

Wrongful Death and Survival Actions In Maryland & the District of Columbia

Wrongful Death and Survival Actions In Maryland & the District of Columbia Open Your Eyes Wrongful Death and Survival Actions In Maryland & the District of Columbia A Wrongful Death Action What is a wrongful death lawsuit? In the context of a medical malpractice lawsuit, wrongful

More information

Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.

Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute. osition Official Title and Summary Prepared by the Attorney General Requires drug and alcohol testing of doctors and reporting of positive test to the California Medical Board. Requires Board to suspend

More information

ARE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS COVERED: A REVIEW OF MOTOR CARRIERS FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

ARE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS COVERED: A REVIEW OF MOTOR CARRIERS FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ARE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS COVERED: A REVIEW OF MOTOR CARRIERS FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Seth G. Gausnell Rabbitt, Pitzer & Snodgrass, P.C. 100 South Fourth Street, Suite 400 St. Louis, Missouri 63102

More information

Proposals to allow more wrongful death lawsuits would increase the legal liability of taxpayers

Proposals to allow more wrongful death lawsuits would increase the legal liability of taxpayers Proposals to allow more wrongful death lawsuits would increase the legal liability of taxpayers by Brandon Houskeeper Policy Analyst February 2008 Introduction The doctrine of sovereign immunity, rooted

More information

Clinical Negligence: A guide to making a claim

Clinical Negligence: A guide to making a claim : A guide to making a claim 2 Our guide to making a clinical negligence claim At Kingsley Napley, our guiding principle is to provide you with a dedicated client service and we aim to make the claims process

More information

What the Jury Hears in Products Liability Litigation. The View From Both Sides and the Middle

What the Jury Hears in Products Liability Litigation. The View From Both Sides and the Middle What the Jury Hears in Products Liability Litigation The View From Both Sides and the Middle Theresa Zagnoli, Communications Expert and Jury Consultant Susan T. Dwyer, Defense Lawyer Jeffrey A. Lichtman,

More information

The Florida Senate POTENTIAL IMPACT OF MANDATING BODILY INJURY LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR MOTOR VEHICLES. Interim Project Summary 98-03 November 1998

The Florida Senate POTENTIAL IMPACT OF MANDATING BODILY INJURY LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR MOTOR VEHICLES. Interim Project Summary 98-03 November 1998 The Florida Senate Interim Project Summary 98-03 November 1998 Committee on Banking and Insurance Senator Mario Diaz-Balart, Chairman POTENTIAL IMPACT OF MANDATING BODILY INJURY LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR

More information

Malpractice Reform: In Search of an Approach that is Rational, Fair, and Promotes Quality Improvement

Malpractice Reform: In Search of an Approach that is Rational, Fair, and Promotes Quality Improvement Malpractice Reform: In Search of an Approach that is Rational, Fair, and Promotes Quality Improvement Joshua B. Murphy, JD Mayo Clinic Legal Department Rochester, MN Presenter Disclosures Joshua B. Murphy,

More information

CASE NO. 1D12-2739. John W. Wesley of Wesley, McGrail & Wesley, Ft. Walton Beach, for Appellants.

CASE NO. 1D12-2739. John W. Wesley of Wesley, McGrail & Wesley, Ft. Walton Beach, for Appellants. IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL FIRST DISTRICT, STATE OF FLORIDA JARVIS A. HOLMES and MARSHA HOLMES, v. Appellants, NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF

More information

2015 IL App (5th) 140227-U NO. 5-14-0227 IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FIFTH DISTRICT

2015 IL App (5th) 140227-U NO. 5-14-0227 IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FIFTH DISTRICT NOTICE Decision filed 10/15/15. The text of this decision may be changed or corrected prior to the filing of a Petition for Rehearing or the disposition of the same. 2015 IL App (5th 140227-U NO. 5-14-0227

More information

MICHAEL D. WAKS LONG BEACH PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

MICHAEL D. WAKS LONG BEACH PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY WHAT IS LEGAL MALPRACTICE IN CALIFORNIA? A client who sustains harm as a direct result of legal malpractice can file a civil lawsuit against the attorney who was responsible for causing that harm. MICHAEL

More information

PRACTICAL ADVICE ON THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO SETTLE YOUR CASE WITH THE GOVERNMENT

PRACTICAL ADVICE ON THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO SETTLE YOUR CASE WITH THE GOVERNMENT PRACTICAL ADVICE ON THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO SETTLE YOUR CASE WITH THE GOVERNMENT This article is collaboration between the panel moderator Brian J. Alexander and panel participants, Richard Saltsman,

More information

Kentucky Consumer Guide

Kentucky Consumer Guide Kentucky Consumer Guide To Buying Car Insurance Attorney-At-Law 859.254.7076 859.281.6541 FAX Page 2 Phone: (859)254-7076 Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. No part of this report may be reproduced,

More information