Jury Trials In 2023
Jurors were asked if they were called for jury duty in the near future and were available, would they show up to court on the day of their summons and serve as a prospective juror? 90% said yes they would show up. For the 10% who said no they would not show up for jury duty, responses were similar to pre-pandemic reasons for why they wouldn’t show up. Examples of open-ended responses dealt with care-giving responsibilities at home, plans for being out of town, hectic schedule, health issue/doctor appointment, cost of missing work, etc. Only a few mentioned concern for Covid, large crowds, or fear of being around others due to a compromised immune system.
Source of News
As the numbers below show, a plurality of jurors gets their news from national news outlets, though this percentage is less than one-quarter of all respondents.
Which is your primary source of news?
13% National newspaper/their website (such as USA Today, The WSJ or NYTimes)
9% Local newspaper or their website
24% National TV newscast or their website (such as NBC, ABC, CBS or PBS)
18% 24-hour TV news station or their website (such as FOX News or CNN)
3% Talk-radio program or their website
1% Radio station newscast or their website
15% Social media outlets (such as Facebook or Twitter)
4% Talking with friends or relatives
9% Other internet website or blog
Jurors have typically tended to view their state and local government more favorably than how they see the federal government, and this trend has continued. As the percentages below illustrate, negative ratings of the federal government outpace positive ones, and the reverse is true for impressions of state and local government.What is your impression of the federal government?
What is your impression of the state government of your state?
What is your impression of the local government of the town or city you live in?
Jurors were asked to rate the following on their honesty, using a scale from “1” (not very honest) to “7” (very honest). The list below is in descending order of perceived honesty, which starts with doctors who were rated the most honest, to politicians who jurors deemed the least honest.
Direction of the Country; Economic Outlook
- 54% of respondents are pessimistic about the future of the country while 46% are optimistic. This finding correlates with political leaning and which candidate jurors voted for in 2020. Democrats and Biden supporters are more hopeful than their Republican and Trump-voting counterparts.
- 35% said the current economy is personally causing them a lot of stress.
- 23% indicate it is very difficult to make ends meet given the current economy.
How would you rate your financial situation?
26% Getting better
45% Staying the same
30% Getting worse
Lawsuits Against Corporations
- 22% strongly agree with the idea of awarding punitive damages. This is up 5% from a year ago when 17% were adamantly in favor of punitive damages.
- When asked about allegations of corporate misconduct, 66% said they would be more likely to believe the company did something wrong, while 34% took this to mean someone is trying to get some easy money. While two-thirds seem to start out intuitively against a company, this is the most pro-company breakdown of this question since 2017, as the prior 5 years (2018-2022) had percentages in the low-to-mid 70’s suspecting corporate malfeasance, with percentages in the mid-to-upper 20’s for those thinking a lawsuit against a company is a money grab attempt.
- 71% of respondents believe individuals who file lawsuits are trying to place responsibility where it belongs, while 31% feel people suing are refusing to take responsibility for their actions.
- 68% agree that making corporations pay big jury awards is the best way to make them follow the law.
- 46% say it would be difficult to deliver a jury verdict that meant an injured party would receive no money. From 2017-2021 this percentage was in the mid-50’s. Last year, 2022, it was 47%, so the distribution appears to be stabilizing around just under 50%.
- 62% indicate if a case makes it to trial there is likely some truth to the plaintiff’s claims. This is down from 69% last year but is right in line with findings from 2017-2021.
- 74% believe plaintiffs often exaggerate their claims in order to increase damage awards. This is the highest it has been since 2017 when it was also at 74%. The average between 2017 and last year is 65%.
- 71% agree that corporations are more unethical today than they were 5 years ago. This is identical to last year’s finding.
- 56% agree that juries should punish corporations for unethical conduct even if that conduct was legal. This is consistent with years prior, especially with 2022 respondents where 55% were in agreement.
Corporation Versus Corporations
- 59% think companies frequently sue other companies for bad business deals (same as last year).
- 69% say a company will break a contract if it thinks it can get away with it. This percentage has been consistent over the 7-year span.
- When asked how common race discrimination on the job in the U.S. is, 52% said common and 22% said very common. This has not significantly changed from 2022.
- When asked how common gender discrimination on the job in the U.S. is, 46% said common and 23% said very common. This also has not significantly changed from 2022.
- 73% believe we need to strengthen laws against employer discrimination in this country. This is the same as it was a year ago.
- 54% agreed with the following statement: “Given the high cost of living nowadays if I was awarding damages to a plaintiff I would err on the side of a higher monetary amount.”
- 64% agreed that if they were awarding money to a plaintiff, they would take into consideration that the cost of living has increased.
- 63% of respondents felt that they would expect damage awards to increase these days due to everything costing a lot more.
- 55% agree police officers think they are above the law (up 6% from last year but consistent with years prior).
- 32% are worried about a loved one being injured by a police officer.
- 49% think it is common for a police officer to use excessive force. This is up 3% from a year ago but well within the sampling average since tracking this question in 2017.
- 58% say the Covid-19 pandemic has taken an emotional toll on them.
- 54% indicate the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a financial toll on them. This is the only Covid-related question that has notably shifted since we first asked this in the spring of 2020. Back then, 55% agreed, in 2021 it dropped to 49%, and slightly lowered to 47% last year. We will continue to monitor the recent uptick and implications for jury pools.
- 46% agree the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a physical toll on them.
- 66% believe most corporations are trying to do the right things during this phase of the pandemic. This is essentially unchanged since first asking this in spring of 2020.
- 53% say the media has overblown the public health risks associated with Covid-19. This has steadily increased over the past 3 years.
- 48% feel that the government has overreacted to the public health risks associated with Covid-19. This percentage has also increased every year since 2020.
- In 2020, 41% said they would have less sympathy for someone bringing a lawsuit during the Covid-19 pandemic. Every year since then, including now, 27% said the same thing.
- 44% say corporations trying to help out during Covid-19 are just doing it for the good publicity.