Lawsuit Verdicts — Growing More Outrageous by the Case

They call them nuclear verdicts. They are verdicts in court cases that run into millions of dollars. A report by researchers at Marathon Strategies titled, Corporate Verdicts Go Thermonuclear, said the nuclear verdicts hitting $10 million or more hit a 15 year high in 2023.

Verdicts called thermonuclear verdicts — those of $100 million or more — hit 27 last year.

That’s a 27% jump over 2022. The median average jumped significantly as well. It is now $44 million. That’s up from $21 million in 2020.

The question is why the huge increases.

Easy, the researchers say. The shift in the jury pool demographics show a rise of Millennial and Gen X voters. Both demographics have a big distrust of corporations and are socially pessimistic. Adding to the problem is no will to enact tort reform by Congress and state Legislatures, and a public that isn’t sensitive at all to those large sums.

In 2023 there were 89 verdicts against companies that totaled $14.5 billion. Of those verdicts, product liability cases got the largest share with 38% of them. The second highest share of nuclear verdicts involves intellectual property claims. They gobbled up 23% of the $14.5 billion.

Wrongful death is third with 13% and antitrust claims got 12% of that money.

State courts are responsible for $9.1 billion or 62% of those verdicts. That compares to $5.5 billion — or 32% — in federal courts.

Source link: Insurance Journal —

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