Every year, I read the Jury Award, Trends, and Statistics report on employment law published by Jury Verdict Research. I used this report during my litigation career to help position cases for settlement purposes.
Because it takes a long time to gather these statistics, the report doesn’t appear until October of the following year. The good news: JVR reported that the median compensatory award in employment practices cases dropped from $285,000 in 2008 to $253,000 in 2009 (the second highest level ever recorded). There has been an upward trend in EPL verdicts since 2003. Although the median award was $253,000, the mean award came $753,332. Here are some other statistics from the report:
- The highest average EPL award between 2003 and 2009 was for retaliation, coming in at $245,500. The second highest average verdict was for wrongful termination at $232,500.
- Approximately 37% of the cases result in a verdict between $100,000 and $500,000.
- In 2009, 24% of the cases had a jury verdict of $1 million or more.
- The highest average compensatory verdicts came against government entities, with manufacturing/industrial companies coming in second place. Transportation firms had the lowest average verdict.
- Between 2003 and 2009, the most common claims for discrimination involved sex (35%), race (25%), disability (15%), age (13%), and other (12%). Age and disability cases had the highest median awards, both more than $250,000. Sex and race cases averaged approximately $200,000.
- As has been the case every year, state court verdicts are dramatically higher than those in federal courts. This is one reason why plaintiffs’ attorneys prefer to try their cases in state court.
- When it comes to the recovery probability for employment practices liability, employers received a break: Employees won 58% of their cases, down from 60% in 2008.
You can order a copy of this report from Jury Verdict Research for approximately $40 by going to www.lrp.com or calling (800) 341-7874.