A four-part column series published by The Am Law Litigation Daily deep dived into the increases in big damages awards against corporate defendants in the wake of the pandemic. The inspiration for the series developed from a presentation Partner Bill Lee and trial consultant Jamie Laird, president of Laird Trial Consulting LLC, delivered to the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Bill and Jamie found, the increase is comparable to what followed the financial crisis in the late 2000s. Jurors then and now find the concept of larger numbers, billions of dollars, to be more acceptable. Similarly, pro-plaintiff sentiment has increased, particularly when an individual is lined up against a big company.
Bill and Jamie have three strategies they believe litigators should consider when addressing the new reality: First, encourage courts to apply Daubert more consistently to challenge damages demands disconnected from the facts. Second, re-think jury selection to better identify damages tendencies of potential jurors. Third, simplify the damages presentation at trial.