Juries and Verdicts

Throughout the history of the ICJ, many of our studies have provided crucial and otherwise unavailable information on civil jury behavior and verdicts

From its inception, the ICJ has conducted pioneering research on civil jury decision-making practices and on trends in civil jury verdicts. Since little information is systematically collected on the civil justice system, this work has provided policymakers with vital empirical data on basic questions.

A constant feature in the ICJ's research program has been our series of reports on trends in civil jury verdicts. To produce these reports, ICJ staff collect and code information on trials from accounts in state and regional jury verdict reporters. The result is a database of verdicts and their characteristics in key state and federal jurisdictions. In some courts our database contains trial information going back four decades. Once the data are assembled, we analyze them for trends in important area such as punitive damages, product liability trials, "bad faith" litigation, the "deep pocket" phenomenon, and claims against doctors, hospitals, and health plans.

The ICJ has also focused on the forces that control a jury's decision-making. Beyond the question of what juries are doing, we are also investigating why juries return the verdicts that they do by using psychological and sociological methodologies.