Summation Anchoring: Is it Time to Cast Away Inflated Requests for Noneconomic Damages?

Authored By: Mark A. Behrens, Cary Silverman & Christopher E. Appel

Excerpt:

            Plaintiffs’ attorneys are aggressively asking jurors to award ever-higher sums for pain and suffering, and often getting it.  Summation anchoring—requesting an unjustifiably high noneconomic damage award in closing—is highly effective, particularly when sympathetic jurors lack objective means to determine compensation for pain and suffering. Research shows, “the more you ask for, the more you get.”

          The cycle of plaintiffs’ counsel asking for and receiving inflated noneconomic damage awards—that are frequently reduced post-trial and on appeal—is inefficient.  Courts and legislatures should address anchoring tactics by plaintiffs’ counsel that contribute to nuclear verdicts and social inflation.

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