Tort reform bias? Say it isn't so

National Law Journal
Monday, April 1, 2002

March 22 was a day for dueling news releases on the tort reform front.

First, Jury Verdicts Research (JVR), a division of Pennsylvania-based LLP
Publications, said a survey found a 43% increase in medical malpractice awards. It said the median went from $700,000 in 1999 to $1 million in 2000.

Within hours, New York's Center for Justice and Democracy (CJ&D) responded with what it says are flaws in the survey and all but accused JVR of shilling for legislated limits on liability.

JVR acknowledges it doesn't have access to 100% of the jury verdicts
nationwide-no one does-but says its "sample is sufficient to produce descriptive statistics" and it has "no intentional bias toward extreme awards."

CJ&D contends that the sampling favors high-end verdicts because of JVR's reliance on news stories and self-reporting by winners. Further, JVR does not factor in its own data showing that 62% of all cases end in defense verdicts, CJ&D executive director and founder Joanne Doroshow complains. She adds that JVR for years has been "used by the business community to support the view that juries are out of control."

JVR spokesman Gary Bagin says his group quit giving its studies to her group last year because of CJ&D's "lack of objectivity." JVR has used the same methodology since 1961, he says, and "we're the neutrals."

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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