Philadelphia County Million-Dollar Verdicts – 2010 Statistics
Statistics reported on Friday, February 18, 2011 confirmed that 36 verdicts and judicial awards (non-jury trials) exceeded one million dollars in 2010, a one-third increase from the 27 reported in 2009. The average amount for a plaintiff’s jury verdict was $1,495, 000 ranging from a low of $460 to a high of $88.7 million (an airplane crash, products liability matter, Pridgen vs. Parker Hannifen Corp.). The report also noted the following:
- The verdicts/findings exceeding one million dollars represented 9 percent of the 386 verdicts and 311 judicial findings rendered last year. There were 332 defense verdicts/findings, or 47.6 percent of the total judgments rendered in civil proceedings in 2010 (excluding summary judgments and other dispositions prior to final judgment).
- In comparison to the average amount of jury verdicts, the average amount for a plaintiff’s non-jury award was $112,320 with a range between $48.00 and $7 million.
- There were more jury verdicts for defendants (206) than plaintiffs (180).
The largest medical malpractice verdict was $5.17 million arising from the death of a 72 year-old woman because of multiple organ failure after undergoing an elective cardiac catheterization.
The potential for such verdicts is often a significant factor in settlement discussions and probably results in an inflationary factor that causes defendants to “pay a premium” above settlement value, for similar cases in different jurisdictions, in order to avoid the risk of an unreasonable Philadelphia County verdict.