Oregon State Bar Bulletin — FEBRUARY/MARCH 2008
Legal Practice Tips
What’s It Worth?
Locating Personal Injury Verdicts and Settlements in Oregon
By Linda McLane and Patrick Charles


Information about jury verdicts, bench trial judgments and settlements in personal injury cases is important for a variety of reasons.1 Award or settlement amounts and the facts surrounding these cases are helpful in evaluating how a case may fare at trial and may be used as a bargaining tool in settlement negotiations.

Personal injury verdict and settlement information can be found in both print and electronic formats. Each source supplies different details about the cases; some give only the bare minimum of information, including the type of case, jurisdiction and the award or settlement amount. Other sources may also provide citations to statutes, case name, judge’s name, docket number, statement of the facts, award or settlement amount, appellate information and experts used. Most of these resources require either subscription or membership, but most law libraries provide access to a variety of these publications.

Almost all publishers accept verdict and settlement information submitted by the attorneys involved in the cases. In addition, many legal publishers hire individuals to go to local courthouses, retrieve court files and read, summarize and submit the cases. Other legal publishers gather information from reported appellate court opinions.

Jury verdicts and bench trial judgments are generally easier to locate than settlements, because the verdict or judgment amount is part of the court file. Settlements tend to be confidential in nature. Even if the settlements are not confidential, it is still difficult in many jurisdictions to find actual dollar amounts because the court files generally don’t include that information.

Listed below are some of the national and Oregon-specific sources for personal injury verdicts and settlements. Some also include employment cases. If it is available online, that information is also provided.

Oregon Jury Verdict & Settlement Resources

Jury Verdicts Northwest — Oregon Litigation & Arbitration Reports
Jury Verdicts Northwest publishes verdicts and settlements for Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Oregon back to 1962. Oregon cases are in a separate monthly publication called Oregon Litigation & Arbitration Reports which contains personal injury trials, settlements and arbitrations from Oregon state and federal courts. Cases reported include the type of case, docket number, facts of the case, type of injury, judge’s name, expert information and award or settlement amount. It is also available in the LexisNexis database VERDCT;ORJURY and in the Westlaw database JVNOR-JV.

Jury Verdicts Northwest offers a fee-based custom search service for Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Alaska cases at: www.juryverdictsnw.com. This site also gives subscription information for their print resources, including the Oregon Litigation & Arbitration Reports.

LRP’s Personal Injury Verdict Survey — Oregon Edition
LRP Publications publishes state-specific personal injury verdicts and settlements annually for approximately 28 states, including Oregon. LRP is a leading publisher of personal injury and employment verdicts and settlements. Each state verdict survey includes award trends for significant injuries and frequently claimed liabilities, million-dollar verdict activity, statistical comparisons of state and national averages, as well as detailed summaries of recent verdicts and settlements. The most recent Personal Injury Verdict Survey — Oregon Edition is 1998. It is also available in the Westlaw database LRPOR-JV.

National Jury Verdict & Settlement Resources

JVR Personal Injury Valuation Handbook
The JVR Personal Injury Valuation Handbook is an eight-volume set published by LRP Publications. It provides a statistical analysis of verdicts and settlements that is helpful in preparing more effective case strategies. Some of the titles include:

The Personal Injury Verdict Finder allows a researcher to call LRP’s toll-free telephone number or fill out an online form and LRP will locate similar personal injury verdicts and settlements.

LRP’s publications can be found in a variety of formats, including newsletters, books, pamphlets and online databases. Subscription and pricing information is available at: www.juryverdictresearch.com. LRP personal injury verdicts and settlements are also available on Westlaw in the LRP-JV database.

AAJ’s Law Reporter
The Law Reporter is a newsletter published 10 times per year by the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) and covers state and federal cases throughout the nation. The Law Reporter covers all types of cases including personal injury cases. Each case reported in the Law Reporter includes the type of case, award or settlement amount, jurisdiction, attorney information, facts of the case and access to pleadings and other court documents. It is more of a current awareness tool because there is no comprehensive index of verdicts and settlements.

Lawyers USA
Lawyers USA (formerly Lawyers Weekly USA) is a national legal newspaper. It has a section entitled "Verdicts & Settlements" that includes state and federal personal injury and employment verdicts and settlements. Each case reported in Lawyers USA includes the facts of the case, award or settlement amount, attorney information and the judge’s name.

The verdicts and settlements section is available weekly in each print issue of Lawyers USA. There is no comprehensive index; however, there is a keyword searchable database that contains all of the verdicts and settlements reported by Lawyers USA available at: www.lawyers weeklyusa.com.

ALM’s VerdictSearch National
VerdictSearch National is published by ALM. This monthly newsletter was originally called the National Jury Verdict Reporter. It covers state and federal personal injury cases from across the country. Each case reported in the VerdictSearch National includes the following information: the award or settlement amount; case name; jurisdiction; docket number; attorney information and a factual description of the case. There is no comprehensive index of verdicts and settlements for the newsletter; however, ALM maintains a keyword searchable database that contains thousands of state and federal personal injury cases. Subscription information can be obtained at the ALM’s website at: www.verdictsearch.com. The Westlaw database is ALMVS-JV.

ALM also publishes the National Law Journal. The National Law Journal publishes an annual issue that includes their top 100 verdicts and top 20 defense verdicts.

Stein on Personal Injury Damages 3d
This is a multi-volume set published by Thomson-West that provides information on aspects of personal injury damages for both state and federal verdicts and settlements from around the country organized by type of injury. Each verdict or settlement provides the jurisdiction, court and citation information, type of injury, award or settlement amount, attorney information and a summary of the facts. The Westlaw database is STEIN-DIG.

Verdicts, Settlements & Tactics
This is a monthly newsletter that includes information concerning injury trends, articles on trial strategies and tactics, as well as very detailed and comprehensive verdict and settlement information from state and federal courts from around the country. It is organized into sections dealing with specific types of injuries, further divided into five subsections: damages fixed by court; excessive; not excessive; adequate and inadequate. Each verdict or settlement report includes: jurisdiction; court and citation information; type of injury; award or settlement amount; attorney information and a summary of the facts. It is also available in the LexisNexis database VERDCT;VERST and in the Westlaw database VST.

Dollar Verdicts: Personal Injury
Only reported cases that have generated a published opinion are included. It is organized into sections dealing with specific types of injuries, further divided into five subsections: damages fixed by court; excessive; not excessive adequate and inadequate. Each verdict or settlement report provides: jurisdiction; court and citation information; type of injury; award amount; attorney information and a summary of the facts. It includes cases from both state and federal courts throughout the country, and is updated annually.

What’s it Worth: A Guide to Personal Injury Awards and Settlements
This is an annual publication organized into 28 chapters dealing with specific types of injuries, further divided into four sections: settlements; adequate verdicts; inadequate verdicts and excessive verdicts. Each case provides: jurisdiction; case name; attorney information; facts of the case; type of injury and award or settlement amount. Cases are supplied from AAJ (formerly ATLA) and LexisNexis. It includes both state and federal cases from around the country. The LexisNexis database is 2NDARY;WORTH.

Lane Medical Litigation Guide
This multi-volume set includes "Specimen Awards" related to injuries to various parts of the body. Each verdict or settlement provides: case name; citation; jurisdiction; type of injury and award or settlement amount. Cases are supplied from West reporters and other sources. It is updated annually and includes both state and federal cases from around the country.

Damages in Tort Actions
Volume 7 of this multi-volume set includes "Illustrative Awards and Settlements." In addition to providing access to all aspects of medical malpractice law, it supplies a list of "Illustrative Awards." Verdicts and settlements are organized by type of injury and report court and docket information, facts of the case, award or settlement amount, specific type of injury and other relevant data. Cases are supplied from AAJ (formerly ATLA) and LexisNexis. It is updated annually and includes cases from both the state and federal level. The LexisNexis database is MATBEN;DAMTOR.

Medical Malpractice
Volume 5 of this multi-volume set supplies a list of "Illustrative Awards." Verdicts and settlements are organized by area of medicine. Each verdict or settlement provides: court and docket information; award or settlement amount; facts of the case; specific type of injury and other relevant data. Cases are supplied from AAJ (formerly ATLA) and LexisNexis. It is updated annually and includes both state and federal cases from around the country. The LexisNexis database is MATBEN;MEDMAL.

Premises Liability
Volume 4 of this multi-volume set supplies a list of "Illustrative Awards." Verdicts and settlements are organized by type of injury. Each verdict or settlement provides: court and docket information; award or settlement amount; facts of the case; specific type of injury and other relevant data. Cases are supplied from AAJ (formerly ATLA) and LexisNexis. It is updated annually and includes both state and federal cases from around the country. The LexisNexis database is 2NDARY;PRLLAP.

Product Liability Advisory
This monthly newsletter reports on recent case developments in the area of product liability law, as well as surveys verdicts and settlements. Each verdict or settlement includes: a narrative of the case, award or settlement amount; court information; experts used; attorney information and the docket number. It is part of the multi-volume treatise, American Law of Products Liability 3d, and can also be subscribed to separately. It includes both state and federal cases from around the country. The Westlaw database is PLADVISORY.

LexisNexis Jury Verdict & Settlement Resources

All Verdicts on LexisNexis (VERDCT;ALLVER)
This database includes jury verdicts and settlements from state and federal cases around the country. This is a combined database which includes cases from over 46 different databases on LexisNexis.

National Jury Verdict Review & Analysis (VERDCT;NTLREV)
The National Jury Verdict Review & Analysis, published by Jury Verdict Review Publications contains selected state and federal cases from around the country.

Westlaw Jury Verdict & Settlement Resources:

Jury Verdicts: 9th Circuit (JV-9TH)
This database includes both state and federal cases from states in the 9th Circuit. It is a compilation database that includes cases from LRP Publications, Jury Verdicts Northwest, Westlaw and Trials Digest California Jury Verdicts and Judgments.

National Evaluator Library (NATEVAL-ALL):
This is another combined database that contains a variety of primary and secondary sources for use in the evaluation of civil lawsuits, including personal injury and products liability lawsuits. It includes cases from over six different jury verdict and settlement databases on Westlaw.

National Jury Verdicts (JV-NAT)
This comprehensive database includes many different sources including LRP’s jury verdicts and settlements. This database includes both state and federal cases from around the country.

Other Electronic Jury Verdict & Settlement Resources

MoreLaw.com (www.morelaw.com)
This is a free service and is maintained Kent Morlan, a Tulsa, Okla., trial attorney. The database is searchable by keyword and updated on a daily basis. Each verdict, settlement or judgment lists jurisdiction, a summary of the case, case name, docket number or citation, type of case, attorney names, expert names, injuries and award or settlement amount. This includes both state and federal cases from around the country.

National Association of State Jury Verdict Publishers (www.juryverdicts.com)
The National Association of State Jury Verdict Publishers is an organization of publishers of jury verdict summaries from throughout the United States. This site does not contain actual verdict or case information; rather it is a trade association for a number of verdict publishers throughout the United States.

Endnote:

1. For purposes of this article, the term "verdict" includes both jury verdicts and bench trial judgments.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda McLane is the director of the Chastek Law Library and an associate professor of law at Gonzaga University School of Law. Patrick J. Charles is the associate director of the Chastek Law Library and an assistant professor of law at Gonzaga University School of Law. He is also a member of the Oregon State Bar.

© 2008 Linda McLane and Patrick J. Charles


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