The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

January 26, 2011
Top ten jury verdicts of 2010

A $505 million judgment in a Las Vegas civil case lead the 2010 ranking of U.S. jury awards.

Lawyers USA publishes the annual Top Ten list. The web site notes that the average size of the top ten verdicts grew from 2009 to 2010 ($145 to $157 million), but not as sharply as between 2008 and 2009 when the average jumped $33 million.

This ranking considers only verdicts in cases brought by individuals, families or small groups of people -- not large business or class-action suits. The Nevada lawsuit involved a man who contracted hepatitis C after a routine colonoscopy. He sued two pharmaceutical companies which made the anesthetic that carried the disease The jury awarded the plaintiffs $5 million in compensatory damages and $500 million in punitive damages.

A southern California jury gave the second largest judgment of the year to a woman who developed mesothelioma cancer. She claimed the asbestos exposure resulted from washing clothes her husband wore while working with asbestos-cement water pipes. The jury agreed and awarded $2 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages.  

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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