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Contract Trials and Verdicts in Large Counties, 1996

NCJ Number
Lea S. Gifford; Carol J. DeFrances Ph.D.; Marika F. X. Litras Ph.D.
Date Published
April 2000
14 pages
This reoprt presents findings on contract cases disposed by jury or bench trials in 1996 in the Nation’s 75 largest counties.

Presents findings on contract cases disposed by jury or bench trials in 1996 in the Nation's 75 largest counties. Information reported includes the types of cases, types of plaintiffs and defendants, trial winners, amount of damages awarded, and case processing time. Overall, plaintiffs won in 62% of contract trial cases and were awarded over $900 million in compensatory and punitive damages. This report updates Contract Cases in Large Counties: Civil Justice Survey of State Courts, 1992.

  • In 1996 an estimated 4,850 contract cases were disposed of by trial in State courts in the Nation's 75 largest counties. Sixty-one percent of contract cases were decided by a judge and 36% by a jury.
  • The most common type of contract trial case involved an individual suing a business (34%), followed by a nonindividual (an organization) suing a business (26%). In 18% of the contract cases an individual sued another individual.
  • Plaintiffs were seeking payment owed to them (seller plaintiff) in over half of the contract lawsuits brought by construction companies (71%), banks (68%), sellers of goods (58%), sellers of services (54%), and manufacturers (53%).