Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc

Countering Reptile Theory And The Growing Problem Of Runaway Jury Verdicts

 Friday, February 28, 2020

 CLM Magazine

In October 2019, a Philadelphia jury delivered an $8 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson for its improper marketing of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal as a treatment for some mental-health disorders in children.

The enormous punitive damages award—in a case where compensatory damages were less than $1 million—was not an anomaly.

In May 2019, a California jury issued a $2 billion verdict against Monsanto after finding that its Roundup weed killer caused a couple’s cancer.

Though the Monsanto verdict was later slashed significantly by a judge, the initial award was yet another striking example of the type of runaway jury verdicts that are becoming commonplace across the nation.

This trend is a major problem for corporate America and the attorneys who defend claims brought against businesses large and small. This very real issue is not going away anytime soon and is much broader than just the high-profile cases that make it to trial and get reported in mainstream media.

These increasingly large verdicts raise an important question: What has changed to spark such outsized jury awards? The answer is the plaintiffs’ bar.
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