NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Juries Are Granting Huge Awards

January 12, 2000

The 10 largest jury awards to individuals and families last year were triple the amount awarded in 1998, reports the publication Lawyers Weekly USA. The list does not include class-action suits or litigation between corporations.

Robert Pambianco, of the Washington Legal Foundation -- a group that supports tort reform -- says that "the litigation explosion is not only continuing but growing exponentially," adding that "huge verdicts have little to do with the facts of the case and more to do with jurors' emotions."

  • The 10 largest awards totaled $8.9 billion in 1999 -- compared to $2.8 billion in 1998.
  • In 1997, the amount was just $750 million.
  • All 10 of the 1999 awards topped $100 million -- and two were more than $1 billion.
  • In the biggest verdict last year, General Motors was ordered to pay $4.9 billion in a case involving six people who were burned when their 1979 Chevy Malibu was hit by a drunken driver and burst into flames -- although that amount was later lowered to $1.1 billion by a judge.

Source: Associated Press, "Injury Awards Soared in '99," Washington Times, January 12, 2000.


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