Juror decisions about damages in employment discrimination cases.

Greene, E., Downey, C., & Goodman-Delahunty, J. (1999). Juror decisions about damages in employment discrimination cases. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 17, 107-121.

This article examines influences on mock juror and jury decision making regarding damages in an employment discrimination case. We examined the effects of expert economic testimony, suggested awards, and conflicting economic testimony on decisions regarding lost wages and benefits and pain and suffering. Participants heard excerpts of an age discrimination lawsuit in which liability had previously been determined in the plaintiff’s favor. We varied whether suggested awards were included and if so, whether they were presented by attorneys, a plaintiff’s expert economist, or both a plaintiff’s and defendant’s expert economist. Results tentatively showed that attorney’s suggestions were not persuasive and that the effects of expert testimony depend on its nature and on the particular decision task at hand.

Damages highest when 1 expert testified for prosecution and proposed a specific figure, compared with no expert or 2 competing experts who gave contrasting figures. Weak impact of expert recommendations before deliberation; moderate association afterward. Taking modal value of individual award preferences was most common method of determining jury-level damage award, but many methods were used.