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Senseless Jury Awards
By Ray Chodos, November, 2004
Jury awards are sometimes staggeringly large, sometimes unaccountably low and wildly varying even in similar cases. Such unpredictability leads to cases settling with claims paid that should have been thrown out, and undermines society’s commitment to employ the force of government with reason and consistency.

The following sampling speaks for itself:

Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $780,000.00 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict considering the misbehaving little toddler Was Ms. Robertson's son.

19 year old Karl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000.00 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hub caps.

Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation And Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He survived on a case of Pepsi he found and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.00.

Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500.00 and Medical expenses after being bit on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. The Award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams who was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500.00 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her tailbone. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom Window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred when Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000.00 and dental expenses.

Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma purchased a new 32 foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having driven onto the freeway, he Set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to Go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the owner's manual that he couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000.00 and a new motor home. The Company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons buying their recreation vehicles.
 
Top 10 Highest Jury Verdicts To Individual Plaintiffs in 2003

1. $254.6 million Denied equity from sale of business. CA
2. $250 million Asbestos verdict. IL
3. $163.8 million  Tire explosion. TX
4. $112 million  Medical malpractice. NY
5. $104.4 million Brain injury sustained from suction of swimming pool. FL
6. $100 million Brain injury from near drowning. FL
7. $85.7 million Bad faith verdict. AZ
8. $71 million Medical malpractice. CA
9. $70.4 million Breach of contract. TX
10. $58.6 million Diving accident. NY
Ray Chodos and Adam Chodos, Esq., CPA are members of the Wealth Preservation Group LLC, a Greenwich, Connecticut based planning organization specializing in wealth preservation, business succession, executive benefits, interacting with the legal and accounting communities. Find more information at www.WealthPreserve.com.
 
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