Damage Anchors on Real Juries
48 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2011 Last revised: 3 Oct 2011
Date Written: 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.
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