Network Firm News

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Verdicts Swelling From Big to Bigger
Jurors desensitized, or just plain angry
Tresa Baldas -- The National Law Journal -- 11-25-2002

In the last few months, a Los Angeles jury awarded a dying smoker $28 billion in an action against a tobacco company, and a Kentucky jury delivered a $271 million award to a burn victim in a personal injury suit against a utility. A look at The National Law Journal's Top 100 Verdicts of 2001 shows the No. 1 verdict totaling just more than $3 billion in another tobacco action, Boeken v. Philip Morris Inc., No. BC 226593 (Los Angeles Co., Calif., Super. Ct.) -- well below this year's high mark to date.

And while megaverdicts are often reversed or reduced on appeal, some are surviving, like a record $290 million punitive damages award against the Ford Motor Co. that recently passed muster with the California Supreme Court. Romo v. Ford Motor Co., No. S108991.

Why are juries kicking their generosity into overdrive?
Find out . . .

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