Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=248419
 
 

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Juries, Judges, and Punitive Damages: An Empirical Study


Theodore Eisenberg


Cornell University - Law School

Neil LaFountain


National Center for State Courts

Brian Ostrom


National Center for State Courts

David Rottman


National Center for State Courts

Martin T. Wells


Cornell University - School of Law

November 1, 2000


Abstract:     
Juries' critics argue that judges should displace juries in setting punitive damages levels. This article, which includes the first study of punitive damages in judge-tried cases, compares judge and jury performance in awarding punitive damages and in setting their levels. Data covering one year of judge and jury trial outcomes from 45 of the nation's largest counties yield no substantial evidence that judges and juries differ in the rate at which they award punitive damages, or in the central relation between the size of punitive awards and compensatory awards. The log transform that describes the relation between punitive and compensatory awards in jury trials also describes the awards' relation in judge trials. For a given level of compensatory award, there is a greater range of punitive awards in jury trials than in judge trials. The greater spread produces trivially few jury awards that are beyond the best estimate of what judges might award in similar cases.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: punitive damages, juries, judges

JEL Classification: K13, K41, K00

working papers series


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Date posted: December 12, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Eisenberg, Theodore and LaFountain, Neil and Ostrom, Brian and Rottman, David and Wells, Martin T., Juries, Judges, and Punitive Damages: An Empirical Study (November 1, 2000). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=248419 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.248419

Contact Information

Theodore Eisenberg (Contact Author)
Cornell University - Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-6477 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)
Neil LaFountain
National Center for State Courts ( email )
300 Newport Ave.
Research Division
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States
757-253-2000 (Phone)
757-220-0449 (Fax)
Brian Ostrom
National Center for State Courts ( email )
300 Newport Ave.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States
757-253-2000 (Phone)
757-220-0449 (Fax)
David Rottman
National Center for State Courts ( email )
300 Newport Ave.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States
757-253-2000 (Phone)
757-220-0449 (Fax)
Martin T. Wells
Cornell University - School of Law ( email )
Comstock Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-8801 (Phone)
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