Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2011


Juries, Predictability, Punitive Damages


This article discusses the meaning of jury “predictability” and whether jury research supports claims of unpredictability. It then analyzes the factors that are associated with perceptions of civil jury unpredictability using data from (1) surveys of corporate and insurance attorneys’ views of the civil justice system, and (2) the outcomes of civil jury trials in state courts. Perceptions of punitive damages dominate business and insurance industry attorneys’ jury predictability ratings. Punitive damages data are significantly and strongly related to attorneys’ judgments about jury predictability across states. This strong association occurs despite evidence of infrequent punitive damage award requests and less frequent occurrence of punitive awards.


An early version of this Article was presented at the Sixteenth Annual Clifford Symposium on Tort Law and Social Policy, The Limits of Predictability and the Value of Uncertainty, on April 8, 2010, at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois.

Publication Citation

Published in: DePaul Law Review, vol. 60, no. 2 (Winter 2011).