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While the U.S. economy stalled in the year 2000, the number of large jury verdicts continued to rise. Last year saw the largest verdict ever awarded — $145 billion in a products liability class action — plus record awards in various categories and venues throughout the nation. Each year, there are record awards handed out somewhere. But in 2000, the number of massive awards in nearly every category jumped significantly. Overall, there were 27 verdicts of $100 million or more. By comparison, in 1999, there were 18 verdicts of $100 million or more. In 1998, there were 17 verdicts in that range. DRAMATIC RISE IN IP AWARDS The rise in large verdicts in intellectual property disputes was particularly dramatic. A year ago, the top five jury awards in intellectual property were $143 million over a charge of trademark infringement, separate awards for $48.5 million, $32.9 million and $32.3 million in patent infringement trials, and $31.68 million for copyright infringement. In 2000, the top five included verdicts of $324.4 million and $271.1 million in patent infringement, $240 million and $80 million in misappropriation of trade secrets. In business torts not involving intellectual property claims, the amounts awarded also exploded in 2000, with juries awarding, in separate cases, $3.5 billion for fraud, $1.05 billion for antitrust (after trebling), $474.5 million for breach of contract, $352 million for conversion and $351 million for breach of contract. The top five business torts awards in 1999 were considerably lower, including breach-of-contract awards for $624.37 million, $122.2 million, $65 million and $55.38 million, plus an antitrust award, after trebling, of $68.4 million. The picture for personal injury verdicts was somewhat mixed — at the upper end of the range. The highest medical malpractice verdict in 1999, for example, was $79 million; the highest in 2000 was $286 million. But, in personal injury, the largest verdict for 2000 was $122 million; in 1999, there were verdicts in separate cases of $160.4 million and $158 million. But the highest two or three verdicts in any category in any year are always aberrations; the amounts awarded seem to have little connection with verdict trends. But what is observable in 2000 is a massive jump in what could be considered midrange verdicts. Each year, in addition to researching the largest verdicts of the year, The National Law Journal investigates dozens of midrange verdicts for honorable mention. Last year, the NLJ researched every products liability, personal injury and wrongful death verdict of $5 million or more. In 2000, while researching the same relative number of verdicts, the floor was raised to $15 million for personal injury, and to $10 million for products liability and wrongful death. This year, products verdicts under $30 million were bounced to the honorable mention column. The NLJ has put together 40 of the year’s largest and most significant awards in 17 separate categories. Only jury verdicts are included — no arbitration awards or judges’ verdicts. All decisions here were valid and collectible as of Feb. 5. How the attorneys won the two largest patent verdicts of the year — $324.4 million and $271.1 million, both to Johnson & Johnson � and the rest of the Top 40 are in this special section. In addition to the 40 main verdicts, the report includes: � Large verdicts that were significantly reduced after verdict. � Verdicts that were reduced but are still leaders in their categories remain in the Top 40. � Large verdicts that were reversed after verdict, including large awards from prior years. � Large, year 2000 verdicts that were settled after verdict. � Prominent cases that were settled before trial. � Five massive verdicts that did not make the list because they were awarded against defendants with no readily accessible assets. � Several dozen midrange honorable mentions. In 2000, there were hundreds of verdicts of $1 million or more awarded by juries in the United States. The National Law Journal has investigated more than 200 of them to produce this year’s verdicts report.

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