Protecting consumer rights and increasing public safety.

Trials

United States

Colorado is not alone in this pattern of changing litigation levels according to the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

BJS studies of trials in America’s 75 largest counties shows the following changes:

Year

Tort

Contract

1992

9,532

2,217

2001

7,848

3,698

Change

-18%

67%

Why businesses are increasingly claimants or defendants in contract disputes is a matter of conjecture.  Corporate scandals uncovered in recent years (Enron, WorldComm, etc.) and substantial financial shenanigans uncovered by attorneys general in several states (and Eliot Spitzer in New York especially) may tend to suggest that corporations have become less likely to honor the laws that should regulate their conduct.

Median jury awards nationally in tort claims declined 43% from 1992 to 2001.  Contract awards went up 18%.  Why so-called tort “reformers” are determined to reduce the accountability of negligent persons – especially under these changing circumstances – is something of a mystery.  It seems that juries are capable of reining in over-large verdicts on their own, a testimonial to the commonsense of ordinary Americans who serve on juries across our country every day.

Futher information from the BJS is available on their website at:  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/civil.htm.