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Preventing Runaway Verdicts in High-Stakes Cases by Making It Easier for Juries to Decide the Most Difficult Issue

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will offer personal injury trial counsel tools to help prevent runaway verdicts in high-stakes cases. The panel will explore the challenges that jurors have in deciding damage awards, the non-evidentiary and extra-legal methods they use to award damages, and what new research says about the themes and jury characteristics of high-damages jurors. The panel will offer ways counsel can plan better in the discovery process to provide jurors with more substantive methods to come to a reasonable number.


Deciding on appropriate damages is one of the most difficult challenges for a jury, especially in noneconomic cases when they are typically instructed to ascertain a "reasonable amount" of damages for intangible harm.

But how do attorneys provide evidence of something as inherently subjective as emotional distress or pain and suffering? How does a plaintiff provide evidence of future pain and suffering or emotional distress when no one can predict a future emotional state? And what is a "reasonable amount"?

New research offers insight into what motivates the "high-damages juror and how to avoid creating them.

Listen as our experienced panel helps counsel better understand the discreet components outside the law and evidence that jurors use to decide these types of cases, as well as offers strategies that can be used throughout discovery and trial to help prevent runaway verdicts in high-stakes cases.



  1. Challenges jurors face in deciding noneconomic damages awards
  2. Nonevidentiary, extra-legal components to large damage jury awards
  3. Research findings about juror decision making
  4. Recommendations for defense counsel


The panel will discuss these and other important issues:

  • Do jurors who appear pessimistic about the future tend to give higher awards?
  • How much sympathy should the defense show for a plaintiff to prevent a runaway verdict?
  • How can counsel gauge juror beliefs about the plaintiff's resilience?


Gabriel, Richard
Richard Gabriel

Decision Analysis

Mr. Gabriel is one of the preeminent trial consultants in the country. Since 1985, Mr. Gabriel has been a leader...  |  Read More

Shaw, Emily
Emily Shaw

Senior Trial Consultant
Decision Analysis

Ms. Shaw is an award-winning researcher specializing in jury decision-making. She graduated with honors from the...  |  Read More

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