Top Jury Verdicts Soar in 2008

The size of the top 10 jury awards rose dramatically in 2008, reversing the declining trend of  recent years. According to the latest report from Lawyers Weekly USA, the sum of the top 10 jury awards more than doubled to $1.3 billion in 2008, from $615 million in 2007. The top verdict in 2008 was for $388 million, more than triple 2007’s top award of $109 million. Lawyers USA notes that the average award also increased sharply driven by three verdicts of well over $100 million during the year. The average award for 2007 was just shy of $51 million, while the average award for 2008 more than doubled to $112 million. In the top verdict of 2008 a Nevada jury awarded $388 million to a 70-year-old inventor who claims he was hounded by California tax authorities for the past 15 years. A couple of other observations: absent from the top 10 list this year for the third year running were any $1 billion-plus awards; no medical malpractice awards  made this year’s top 10 either. Lawyers USA compiles the Top 10 Jury Verdicts each year applying certain ground rules. Verdicts must be to an individual plaintiff and the list does not include business-against-business suits, class actions or consolidated suits. Cases must have been defended and suits against indigent incarcerated individuals are not included. Check out I.I.I. info on the liability system.  

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