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Jury verdict data skewed high and toward plaintiffs, study finds

A recent study by the National Center for State Courts compared a large set of jury verdicts in 2001 to the published data from those cases by 20 reporting services. Disturbingly, the NCSC found twice as many jury verdicts as the services reported. (27 Nat. L.J. 11 (May 23, 2005)

Other troubling differences in the data showed up. Compare the NCSC data to the reporting services’ data: plaintiff win rate of 51.2% vs. 60.1%; median compensatory damages of $40,271 vs. $66,548; mean compensatory awards of $680,551 vs. $1.247 million.

If reporters inflate the plaintiffs’ odds and amounts of awards, law departments are more likely to agree to settle and for higher amounts.

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