According to a recent study by Manpower and Jury Verdict Research, employers won only 39% of jury cases in the past year, tied for the lowest percentage in this decade. The lowest win rate was 33% for age cases and the highest win rate for employers was disability cases with 52%. The median settlement amount was $90,000. But, before my current clients see this and go bonkers, I am sure that means there was some very large amounts raising that amount so high. Most employment cases settle for less than $20,000 in my experience.
Why is the win rate for employers lower this past year? Russ Cawyer advances various reasons, all of which make sense. With the downturn in the economy, many potential jury members are out of work. That sort of experience makes discrimination and employment issues more credible. Mr. Cawyer mentions that in two recent jury trials, many more potential jury members were out of work or had a close family member who was out of work. And, as he adds, in a down economy, many employers will take their chances at trial instead of trying to settle the case.
Russ Cawyer, a management side lawyer, sees this as part of a trend favoring employees over employers. Perhaps, but like everything, trends come in cycles.