NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Why Do Juries Hate American Corporations?

October 8, 2002

Lawyers at some of America's largest companies have been exploring the psychology of jurors, hoping to understand why they love to beat up on business. They found that many juries -- particularly in lower-income communities -- completely misunderstand the way business operates.

In research conducted by DecisionQuest for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, it was found that:

  • Educated white males -- historically the most supportive of large corporations -- feel particularly betrayed by the spate of accounting scandals and are increasingly antibusiness.
  • Many white jurors, particularly women, are increasingly likely to support discrimination claims -- more likely even than blue-collar or union workers.
  • While many jurors take a dim view of plaintiffs' lawyers and their fees, they award plaintiffs even higher amounts to compensate for the bite their lawyers will take.
  • Jurors in communities with a strong corporate presence are the most hostile to corporations -- because they harbor certain resentments against the business.

Finally, jurors believe senior management knows everything that happens in every plant, dock and shipping station -- from discrimination practiced by lowest-level bosses to the name of every chemical used in manufacturing.

Source: Michael Freedman, "Twelve Really Angry Men," Forbes, October 14, 2002.

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