Understandably, this is the most important question a client will ask his lawyer when deciding whether to settle a lawsuit or defend the case at trial.   It is also one of the most difficult things for lawyers to predict.   That’s why jury verdict research is so valuable, and why this post at Manpower Employment Blawg is a must read for employers and HR professionals.    It turns out that 2009 was not a very good year at the courthouse for employers defending employment related lawsuits.  Here is a summary of the some of the jury verdict data:

  • The median jury award in discrimination cases rose 16%, from $208,000 to $241,119.
  • Employers won 39% of the time (or lost 61% of the time, depending upon your perspective).   In age cases, employers were successful only 33% of the time, and in disability cases, 52% of the time.
  • Age discrimination claims resulted in the largest verdicts, followed by disability, sex, and race.
  • Employers are generally better off in federal court: they won 43% of the time there, versus 37% of cases in state court. The median award was also lower in federal court ($164,925 vs. $270,000). Federal Court is also more favorable for employers because of the relatively high percentage of cases for which summary judgment is granted.
  • The median settlement amount for all cases: $90,000, 20% higher than last year.