Damages are the monies and injunctive relief awarded from a lawsuit. In the last 20 years, damages awards have greatly outpaced inflation and 75% of voters believe that awards on subjective damages should be reasonably limited.
When lawsuits are brought against a group of defendants, the liability must be split among them. Whether it is split fairly is immensely important in creating a just and economically sound state liability system. Businesses confident in their ability to get a fair shake in court feel more comfortable spending resources to expand and further employ.
Product Liability Lawsuits
Lawsuits stemming from harms caused by products are the most expensive lawsuits in state civil justice systems. When so much is at stake, it is ever more important for justice to be accurate and efficient. Holding product manufacturers responsible for unreasonably dangerous products is key to protecting the consumer, but when liability is applied erroneously, prices needlessly rise and valuable products may be removed from the market.
Consumer Protection Litigation
State Consumer Protection or Deceptive Trade Practices Acts are intended to protect consumers from businesses taking advantage of them. In a free-market economy, both consumers and businesses must be treated fairly. Some state consumer protection statutes are too ambiguously worded and encourage excessive litigation that does harm to local businesses and state economies.
The difficulties associated with serving jury duty discourage potential jurors from serving. By lessening these difficulties, jury pools will be better representative of the whole, and a representative jury tends to beget more reasonable verdicts.
Government Contracts with Private Lawyers
On occasion, the state may hire private attorneys on contract to bring litigation on its behalf. These negotiations and lawsuits must be appropriately disclosed to garner the best deal for the taxpayer and to keep a profit motive from taking over where a public interest-motive should take precedence.
Interest Paid on Judgments
Damages usually accrue interest to compensate the plaintiff for the lost time value of money. Whether the interest rate reflects the rates of the current economy can significantly inflate or deflate the value of a lawsuit award.
Class Action Lawsuits
Once a judge decides that a class action can move forward as a class, defendants are often encouraged to settle whether or not the lawsuits have merit. The possibility of losing thousands of claims is a huge risk. It is essential to ensure that the class action mechanism is not abused.