15 December 2002
Twelve angry men and/or women
Scott Ganz takes a break from serving time on a jury to explain huge punitive-damage awards:
[M]any were outraged that a jury of 12 people could dare to award fifty-two billion dollars in damages against a tobacco company. However, while ambling around the hallway outside the courtroom not discussing the case with my fellow jurors, I learned that the jurors in the tobacco case, due to over a year of service, lost jobs, homes, and investments. I can only assume that this was a result of incessant, needling actions on the part of the defense. Generally, the more expensive the big-shot attorney, the longer the case will run.
So you get twelve people who know by the time they reach deliberation that their lives have been ruined. So what do they do? Punish the tar-smelling shit out of the bastards that wasted all their time. Whether or not it's right for them to do (and technically, it's not), can you imagine anyone behaving otherwise?
And they don't even get a cut of the proceeds, either.
Is there a solution to this?