February 21, 2019 Articles

Taming the Feels: Juror Emotion in Catastrophic Injury Trials

While sympathy toward a plaintiff is an important issue to explore, our research has found that anger and a desire to right societal wrongs more strongly affect juror perceptions.

By Melissa M. Gomez

The impact on verdict decisions of jurors’ emotional reactions to a case story has been a consistent concern for litigators, especially for those handling cases involving serious injury. Of course, jurors are instructed that they must put sympathies aside and decide a case solely on the facts. But this conjures the question of whether jurors can truly follow that instruction and, knowing that they are not supposed to use their sympathy in decision making, what do they do with that sympathy?

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