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Publication Contract Bench and Jury Trials in State Courts, 2005

Donald J. Farole, Jr., Ph.D.

September 29, 2009    NCJ 225634

Presents findings on contract cases disposed of by a bench or jury trial in a nationally representative sample of jurisdictions in 2005. Topics in the report include the types of cases that proceed to trial, differences between the types of cases decided by judges or juries, types of plaintiffs and defendants represented in civil trials, plaintiff win rates, damage awards, and post-trial activity. Information is also presented on contract trial litigation in the nation’s 75 most populous counties from 1996 to 2005. See also Civil Bench and Jury Trials in State Courts, 2005.


  • 64% of contract cases in general jurisdiction courts were decided by a judge, and 36% were heard by a jury.
  • Contract trials in 2005 most commonly involved an individual suing a business (33%), followed by a business suing another business (25%).
  • The median damage award for plaintiff winners in contract trials was $35,000. Juries awarded a median of $75,000 and judges a median of $25,000 in final award amounts.

Part of the Civil Trial Cases and Verdicts in Large Counties Series

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National Judicial Reporting Program (NJRP)

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