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Publication Punitive Damage Awards in Large Counties, 2001

Thomas H. Cohen, J.D., Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

March 1, 2005    NCJ 208445

Presents findings on civil trials concluded in 2001 in the Nation's 75 largest counties that produced a punitive damage award. Information reported in numerical tables includes the types of civil cases receiving punitive damages, punitive damage award amounts, a comparison of punitive damages in bench and jury trials, and types of litigants in trials with punitive damages. In addition, information on plaintiff and defendant post-trial and appellate activity in civil trials with punitive damages is presented. Trends in punitive damage awards in civil jury trials during the 1992 and 2001 study periods are also described. This is an electronic only report.


  • Plaintiff winners received $50,000 or more in punitive damages in half of the estimated 356 civil trials concluded in 2001 with punitive damage awards.
  • Punitive damages exceeded compensatory awards in 39% of the 356 civil trails with punitive damages.
  • The type of tort cases in which plaintiff winners were most likely to receive punitive damages included slander/libel (58%), intentional torts (36%), and false arrest/imprisonment (26%) cases.

Full report (PDF 521K)
ASCII file (7K)
Spreadsheet (Zip format 13K)
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Civil Justice Survey of State Courts (CJSSC)

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