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Federal Tort Trials and Verdicts, 2002-03

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2005
12 pages
Thomas H. Cohen Ph.D.
Publication Series
Publication Type
This report presents findings on jury and bench tort trials concluded in Federal district courts during fiscal years 2002-03.
Analyzing public use data assembled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the report is the latest edition in a series on the topic of tort trials. Information includes the types of tort cases that proceed to trial, plaintiff win rates, case processing times, and estimated median damage awards. The report also describes the types of Federal jurisdictions in tort trial cases, the differences between tort bench and jury trials, and details about asbestos and non-asbestos product liability trials (1990 through 2003). The overall trends in tort trial litigation from 1970 to 2003 are also examined. Highlights include the following: plaintiffs won in 48 percent of tort trials terminated in U.S. district courts in 2002 through 2003. Plaintiffs won less frequently in medical malpractice (37 percent) and product liability trials (34 percent). An estimated 9 out of 10 tort trials involved personal injury issues--most frequently, product liability, motor vehicle (accident), marine, and medical malpractice cases. Eighty-four percent of plaintiff winners received monetary damages with an estimated median award of $201,000. Figures, tables, definitions
Date Created: December 17, 2009