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Presenting ‘Largest Verdicts of 2011’

Twenty cases make this year’s survey

The biggest jury verdict ever returned in Virginia leads the survey of the “Virginia’s Largest Verdicts of 2011,” presented in this issue.

Web Editor Sarah Rodriguez has compiled the results, which can be found here.

Some of the findings from this year’s compilation:

TWENTY

A total of 20 qualifying verdicts were reported across the commonwealth. For inclusion in the survey, a verdict must have been for $1,000,000 or more, and it must have returned by a jury, not a judge, within Virginia during calendar year 2011. Last year, 22 verdicts qualified. Typically the number of verdicts in this annual survey is in the low 20s.

BIGGER DOLLARS

While the number of verdicts may be down slightly, the dollar value of the verdicts shot way up in 2011. It’s unusual to see a nine-figure jury verdict in Virginia. Last year, there were three of them, all in federal court. There is no common thread other than size: the claims in the three cases range from trade secrets to products liability to intellectual property.

The top verdict in the survey is the largest jury verdict ever returned in Virginia: DuPont won $919.9 million for misappropriation of trade secrets after an eight-week trial in Richmond that ended in September.

BIG FEDERAL HITS

Federal court is where the biggest awards can be found. Six of the 20 large verdicts were in federal court, and those six were among the top eight verdicts in the survey. The largest state court verdict was a $25 million asbestos case in Newport News.

MED-MAL DOWN

Four verdicts involve successful medical-malpractice claims, down from the seven med-mal verdicts on last year’s list.

BOBBY HATTEN

No lawyer was on the list more than once, but Newport News lawyer Robert R. Hatten kept his streak alive. Hatten has won at least one jury verdict of $1 million or more for the past six years.

We compiled this list throughout the year and made a final appeal in December for qualifying verdicts. If you have a verdict that should be included, please let us know; we will include it in the online version of the 2011 survey.

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