A study of juror and jury judgments in civil cases: Deciding liability for punitive damages


Journal Article

A study was conducted to investigate civil juries' decisions concerning defendants' liability for punitive damages in tort cases. A total of 121 six- member mock juries composed of jury-service-eligible citizens were presented summaries of previously decided cases and given a comprehensive instruction on the defendant's liability for punitive damages. Most of the mock juries decided that the consideration of punitive damages was warranted, although appellate and trial judges had concluded that they were not warranted. The tendency to find the defendant liable was partly due to jurors' failure systematically to consider the full set of legally necessary conditions for the verdicts they rendered. Individual differences in the jurors' backgrounds were not strongly related to their verdicts; income and ethnicity were weakly related to judgments. The social processes in deliberation on civil juries were similar to the dynamics of deliberation that have been observed in criminal juries.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hastie, R; Schkade, DA; Payne, JW

Published Date

  • June 20, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 287 - 314

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0147-7307

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1023/A:1025754422703

Citation Source

  • Scopus