Damage Anchors on Real Juries
Shari Seidman Diamond
Northwestern University, School of Law & American Bar Foundation
American Bar Foundation
Mary R. Rose
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Sociology
John B. Meixner
Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law; Northwestern University - Department of Psychology
Sept 20, 2011
Experiments reveal anchoring as a powerful force, even when participants see the anchor as irrelevant. Here, we examine the reactions of real deliberating jurors to attorney damage requests and concessions in 31 cases involving 33 plaintiffs in which the jury awarded damages. Jurors were critical consumers of attorney suggestions. They reacted more negatively to, and were less influenced by, plaintiff ad damnums for pain and suffering than to damage requests in categories grounded in more objective evidence. Deliberations revealed that jurors often perceive plaintiff ad damnums not only as irrelevant, but also as outrageous, impressions reflected in their verdicts. These findings suggest that extreme plaintiff ad damnums, including those without grounding in quantitative evidence from trial, may not exert substantial undue influence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Date posted: July 12, 2011 ; Last revised: October 3, 2011
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