The Civil Jury

Trends in Trials and Verdicts, Cook County, Illinois, 1960-1979

by Mark A. Peterson, George L. Priest

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This report presents the results of an extensive examination of the decisions made by litigants, courts, and juries in a large number of civil jury trials. It is based on detailed data on 9,000 civil cases that were tried before juries in Cook County, Illinois (the nation's second largest county), between 1960 and 1979. The information in the report details more than 9,000 civil suits tried to verdict. These include all civil suits for money damages other than those arising from automobile and common carrier accidents and a one-quarter random sample of automobile and common carrier cases. The report describes trends in the number of civil jury trials, in the proportion of cases in which defendants are found liable and in the size of awards to plaintiffs. These trends are analyzed separately for ten different types of civil cases. The report does not try to explain the trends nor to draw out their implications. This report is the first in a series that will use the data to delve into the underlying causes of the events.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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