Despite the fact that the number of civil cases involving large monetary verdicts and settlements dropped slightly in the past year, experts say it's too soon to spot a trend.
Between August 1, 2012 and this past July 31,yielded recoveries -- either jury verdicts or settlements -- of $1 million or more, according to the 2013 New Jersey Legal Almanac released last month.
That’s a decrease from the 127 cases reported in 2012, and much closer to the 109 the almanac reported in 2011, but according to Almanac Editor and New Jersey Law Journal Executive Editor Pamela E. Brownstein, “There’s not a real pattern to it, because each case is freestanding . . . in any given year, there are various reasons why something goes to trial or goes to settlement.” (The law journal publishes the annual almanac.)
Brownstein did note some groupings among this year’s cases:
44 dealt with motor vehicle accidents
22 were medical malpractice cases
20 were workplace accidents
12 dealt with personal injury
6 were some form of discrimination
Here are this year’s top 10:
In this workplace accident case, which was moved to U.S. District Court in Newark, an employee became quadriplegic after being crushed by the forklift he was operating. His caregiver sister sued the forklift manufacturer, and the court ultimately approved a $33.9 million settlement.
An Irvington high-school studentwon a $16.3 million verdict from an Essex County jury after the family sued the school district for negligence.
In this Passaic County personal injury case that, a boy who was disabled after being struck by a baseball that had been hit with a metal bat sued the manufacturer of the bat, Little League Baseball, and a sporting goods chain. A $14.5 million settlement was reached in August 2012.
This personal injury case, which ended in a $10.5 million settlement, involved a seven-year old girl who was caught in a motorized parking-lot gate at an apartment complex and suffered permanent cognitive impairment.
A Hudson County jury awarded $8.15 million in compensation to property owners in Hoboken and Weehawken whose property was condemned for use. ARC was ultimately canceled by the Christie administration.
An Essex County juryto accident victims injured in a car rollover after an automobile dealer failed to recommend a tire replacement.
An infant who came into the hospital severely beaten was released despite suspected child abuse. After his release, he was beaten again. The hospital settled for $7.4 million.
A roofer sued the owner of the Mount Laurel warehouse where he was working after he was electrocuted and thrown 20 feet. A Burlington County jury awarded him a $6.9 million.
A Mercer County jury awarded two white corrections officersafter they sued, claiming their African-American superiors singled them out for discipline and retaliation.