Civil litigators getting used to life in the doldrums
Anyone who hoped that commercial litigation might help law firms weather the recession was surely disappointed last year, according to National Law Journal affiliate VerdictSearch's report on the Top 100 Verdicts of 2009. Commercial verdicts, including breach-of-contract recoveries, fell from $1.4 billion in 2008 to $421 million last year. Fraud recoveries plummeted by nearly 70% to $561.3 million. Intellectual property litigation saw an increase — from $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion. But that picture was distorted by a single massive recovery: Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.'s $1.67 billion verdict against Abbott Laboratories.
Credibility was at issue in 2009's largest verdict
Plaintiff lawyers' attack on Abbott's credibility and case theory may have helped Centocor score a $1.67 billion verdict — the largest verdict of last year.