Nuclear verdicts have been increasing in frequency and severity over the past decade, especially in the last few years.Litigation
‘Plaintiff’s attorneys have changed the way they try cases,’ explained Robert F. Tyson, Jr., managing partner of Tyson & Mendes.
‘They are no longer focused on sympathy alone. They will take it, of course, but now they are going for anger. Anger at everyone: at the defense, at the witnesses, at defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel’s goal is to have the jury punish the defense.’
Nuclear verdicts, also called runaway verdicts, are usually considered awards of $10 million or greater, but Tyson detailed that what really matters is the differential between economic damages and non-economic ones. Those non-economic awards are often made for pain and suffering but can be for other reasons as well.
The complex situation is the key topic of the upcoming conference, ‘Preventing Nuclear Verdicts,’ October 18-19 in Chicago. The event is one of several annual conferences sponsored by the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM).