The size of the Top 10 jury awards rose again in 2012, according to the latest annualÃ‚ report from Lawyers USA.
The 10 largest jury verdicts in 2012 totaled $2.03 billion, an increase of 10 percent from $1.84 billion in 2011.
Lawyers USA noted that the average award for 2012 increased by nearly $20 million, rising to $203 million from just under $184 million the prior year. By contrast, the average award for 2011 increased by around $27 million over 2010.
While the top award in 2012 was substantially greater than the top verdict the prior year Ã¢â‚¬“ $716.5 million versus $482 million in 2011 Ã¢â‚¬“ the drop this year was much steeper to the No.2 award of $179.7 million, and the No. 3 award of $178 million.
Other key takeaways include:
Ã¢â‚¬“ All of the verdicts in this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Top 10 were greater than $100 million. The lowest award was $109 million, some $19.4 million more than the No. 10 award in 2011.
Ã¢â‚¬“ In the yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top verdict, a convenience store was hit with a massive $716.5 million verdict for selling alcohol to a teenager who plowed into another vehicle, killing its occupant.
Ã¢â‚¬“ The #2 verdict went to three workers burned in an explosion at a grain silo who were awarded more than $179 million against ConAgra Foods for failing to clean up stored wheat that became combustible.
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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