Daniels, S., & Martin, J. (1986). Jury verdicts and the ‘crisis’ in civil justice. Justice System Journal, 11, 321-348.
Amid the claims of an “insurance crisis,” civil justice reform has taken the country by storm. Civil jury verdicts have been singled out as one of the major causes of the crisis. This article reports on the findings of a survey of civil jury verdicts in money damage cases in state courts for the 1980s. The data cover 43 sites in 10 different states and include information on plaintiff success rates and the size of awards. While there are certain “hot spots” among the sites examined, the data do not depict a system run amok. Plaintiff success rates and median damage awards varied considerably by case type and jurisdiction. Median award was modest in most jurisdictions.