Ask and you shall receive. The plaintiffs’ bar’s now-ubiquitous use of anchoring, a summation tactic of asking juries to return unreasonably excessive verdicts for pain and suffering, bears further truth to this maxim.
We previously wrote on the topic of how improper anchoring exploits a tension in the CPLR to undermine the Legislature’s efforts to inject stability and fairness into New York’s tort system. See Capowski & Watkins, “CPLR 5501(c) Review In the Age of Summation ‘Anchoring’ Abuse,” NYLJ (June 26, 2019). As the plaintiffs’ bar is apt to note, CPLR 4016(b) explicitly affords them the right to request “a specific dollar amount” for pain and suffering. Nevertheless, CPLR 5501(c), a statute designed to curb the upward spiral of verdicts, only permits plaintiffs to receive “reasonable compensation” as measured through a comparable case analysis. The plaintiffs’ bar, with increasing frequency, exploits the right to seek a specific dollar amount to undermine CPLR 5501(c)’s goal of checking the unsustainable explosion of damages awards.
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