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Publication Civil Jury Cases and Verdicts in Large Counties: Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, 1992

Carol J. DeFrances, Ph.D., John A. Goerdt, Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., Brian J. Ostrom, David B. Rottman, Steven K. Smith

July 16, 1995    NCJ 154346

Juries in the 75 largest counties disposed of 12,000 tort, contract, and real property rights cases during a 12-month period ending June 30, 1992. Jury cases were 2% of the 762,000 tort, contract, and real property cases disposed by State courts of general jurisdiction in the Nation's most populous counties. Thirty-three percent of cases decided by juries were automobile accident suits, 11% were medical malpractice, and 5% were product liability and toxic substance cases. In half of all jury cases, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff and in the 12-month period awarded an estimated $2.7 billion in compensatory and punitive damages. The median total award for a plaintiff was $52,000. Punitive damages were awarded in 6% of the jury cases with a plaintiff winner. The median punitive award was $50,000; average time from complaint filing to jury verdict was 2.5 years.

A 1996 update of these data are available in Civil Trial Cases and Verdicts in Large Counties, 1996.

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