Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Billion Dollar Plus Jury Awards: A Legal System Out Of Control

Just this year, there have been 3 separate jury awards to a single individual; each in excess of a billion dollars.

In February, a woman by the name of Carolyn Whittaker was awarded $1.6 billion dollars after claiming that her insurance company defrauded her.  In April, Terrance Allen was awarded $9 billion after having taken the diabetes drug Actos and contracted bladder cancer.  Then, just this week, a woman by the name of Cynthia Robinson was awarded $23.6 billion dollars after her chain-smoking husband died of a smoking-related cancer.

Up until this year, awards of $10 million dollars or more to a single individual were quite rare.  But, now, to have three awards at more than 2300 times that amount has to be sending shock waves through corporate America.  Awards in the billions of dollars can literally put companies out of business and all their workers out of jobs.  More importantly, if drug manufacturers are driven out of business because any of their drugs, on a likely chance that on rare occasion can cause death or injury, then what?  Millions of people will no longer have access to medications they need to keep themselves alive.  And, for what?  A legal system that is now valuing peoples lives at well beyond any amount of money that any average person could make in a lifetime.  For example, the average college degreed worker is only expected to make 2.27 million in their lifetime.  An award of $23.6 billion dollars is the equivalent lifetime incomes of more than 10,000 college degreed workers.  Or, to look it another way. Just a single billion dollars equals more almost $37,000 a day -- every day -- over a period of an average person's lifetime of 75 years.  For, $23.6 billion, that daily average would be almost be a million dollars a day at $862,100.

The jury system for malpractice and personal injury suits has to be reformed.  Juries, today, have no concept of the amount of money they are awarding and what the overall consequences of those awards are.  We are creating a society where companies and corporations will be less likely to take risks if they think they will be hit with just one jury award in excess of a billion dollars.  And, for that, we will all be pay.


Florida jury awards $23.6 billion to widow in smoking lawsuit: http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/19/us/florida-tobacco-verdict/index.html

Louisiana Jury Hands Down $9 Billion Actos Verdict: http://www.recallcenter.com/jury-hands-down-9-billion-dollar-actos-verdict

Woman Awarded Billion Dollar Verdict: http://www.wsfa.com/story/1633554/woman-awarded-billion-dollar-verdict

How Higher Education Affects Lifetime Salary: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/08/05/how-higher-education-affects-lifetime-salary

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