Thursday, September 25, 2008

Discrimination verdicts rise 70% in one year

Earlier this week I reported that fewer plaintiffs are winning their federal employment cases. Another study, however, suggests that those those are winning are winning bigger verdicts. Mark Toth at the Manpower Employment Blawg reports on a study released by Jury Verdict Research, which concludes that the median discrimination verdicts rose from $147,500 in 2006 to $252,000 in 2007, an astounding 70% increase.

The good news, however, is that employers really are better off in federal court, where they won 43% of the time, compared to only 34% in state court. And, in the cases won by plaintiffs, the median jury award in federal court was 22% lower than the median state jury award.

Is this increase a trend or an anomaly? It's hard to say. 2008 already saw the largest employment law jury verdict in the history of Ohio, $46.6 million. In a today's difficult economy, it is certain that more employment cases will be filed. It will remain to be seen if jurors who are facing their own tough economic times will continue to be generous.