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Large Jury Awards Hit Six-Year Low

An annual survey by Boston-based Lawyers Weekly USA indicates that the ten largest jury awards in 2003 totaled $1.27 billion, a six-year low. The year's...
January 6, 2004

An annual survey by Boston-based Lawyers Weekly USA indicates that the ten largest jury awards in 2003 totaled $1.27 billion, a six-year low. The year's highest jury verdict was $254.6 million awarded to two German entrepreneurs who claimed to have been unfairly denied their equity stake in a European joint venture between the media giants Bertelsmann and America Online. Other large awards included:

  • $250 million to a man who developed cancer after working for decades in the U.S. Steel factory in Indiana
  • $163.8 million to the family of a Texas mechanic who was killed when he tried to remove a massive truck tire using a blowtorch
  • $70.4 million to an oilman who accused Halliburton Energy Services of depriving him of the opportunity to develop a lucrative oil field in Kazakhstan.

For the first time in several years, the top awards did not include any tobacco lawsuits.

What It Means to Agents: The size of the the sample reporting the drop in awards - only ten cases - appears to be too small to draw conclusions. PIA members are directly experiencing increases in E&O and professional liability costs, and are reporting such increases for coverages among their clients.

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