The size of the top 10 jury awards rose for a fourth consecutive year in 2011, according to a recent report from Lawyers USA.
The 10 largest jury verdicts in 2011 totaled $1.84 billion, an increase of 15 percent from $1.6 billion in 2010.
Lawyers USA noted that the average award for 2011 increased by $27 million, rising to just under $184 million from nearly $157 million the prior year.
While the top award was slightly lower in 2011 Ã¢â‚¬“ $482 million versus $505.1 million in 2010 Ã¢â‚¬“ the drop this year was much less steep to the #2 award of $322 million and the #3 award of $212 million.
Further, the lowest award in this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Top Ten was nearly $90 million, almost $10 million more than the #10 award in 2010.
Here are the key takeaways:
Ã¢â‚¬“ In the yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top verdict Ã¢â‚¬“ a patent infringement case Ã¢â‚¬“ a Texas jury awarded $482 million to a radiologist on his claim that a medical stent manufacturer willfully infringed his patent.
Ã¢â‚¬“ This yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s #2 award Ã¢â‚¬“ the largest single plaintiffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s asbestos verdict in U.S. history Ã¢â‚¬“ went to a Mississippi man who sued two companies for failing to warn of the dangers of asbestos particles he claimed he inhaled at work. The award has since been vacated.
Ã¢â‚¬“ Another asbestos case made this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s #10 as an Illinois jury awarded $89.6 million ($80 million of it in punitives) against four defendants in a suit brought by a former pipefitter suffering from mesothelioma.
Ã¢â‚¬“ And two of the Top Ten this year involved a rash of hepatitis C infections caused by contaminated vials of anesthetic at Las Vegas colonoscopy and endoscopy clinics, the same litigation that gave rise to the #1 verdict last year.
Lawyers USA compiles the Top 10 Jury Verdicts each year applying certain ground rules. Verdicts must be to an individual plaintiff, defined as a single person, family or small group of individuals injured in a single incident who had their claims tried in one case before the same jury.
The list does not include business-against-business suits, class actions or consolidated suits. Cases must have been defended and default verdicts and suits against incarcerated individuals are not included.
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