Plaintiffs Won 57 Percent of the Trials
Statewide, plaintiffs prevailed in 57 percent of the trials, and defendants prevailed in 43 percent. Over the past ten years, the statistical
chance of plaintiffs prevailing in any given case has remained within the range of 54 percent to 66 percent.
Jury awards consistently vary by county in Arizona. Averages and
medians12 for plaintiffs’ verdicts in each venue are below, and also
on the map.
The statewide average plaintiff’s verdict13 in 2016 was $840,917.
The statewide median plaintiff’s verdict was $40,346. The average
plaintiff’s verdict in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Arizona was $6,196,890. Part of the reason the average was so high
is that the top 1, 2 and 6 verdicts were from this court. Its median
verdict was $787,500.
Coconino County’s average and median were also unusually
high, at $3,923,595 and $1,473,510 respectively, because two of
the three plaintiff’s verdicts were in multi-millions, including number 4. It had no defense verdicts reported in 2016. That data does
not reflect the general trend of Coconino County in recent years.
Sixty-six percent of all the verdicts came from Maricopa County,
as is typical. Maricopa County dominates the state in number of
civil cases tried and filed there. Its average verdict was $346,688,
and median was $25,736.
Yuma County reported two verdicts that averaged $229,975. The
average in Santa Cruz County of its three verdicts was $225,699,
with a median of $32,546. Pinal County reported two plaintiff’s
verdicts that averaged $167,333.
Cochise County had one plaintiff’s verdict of $225,000 and no
defense verdicts. Yavapai County reported one plaintiff’s verdict of
$20,000 and two defense verdicts. Gila County had one plaintiff’s
verdict of $11,250 and no defense verdicts. Graham County reported one plaintiff’s verdict of $2,415 and no defense verdicts.
Mohave County and Navajo County had two defense verdicts
each. No verdicts for either side were reported out of Apache,
Greenlee, or La Paz Counties.
Arizona juries gave several large
punitive awards in 2016, in eight
cases. The largest award by far was
in the Wichansky case (number 1
above) for $16,625,500. Coming
in second was the Coulbourn case
(number 2 above) with $8,000,000
in punitive damages. As noted
above, both cases were in the
United States District Court for
Arizona. The two top punitive
awards were from federal court,
The awards included $790,000 in a legal malpractice case,
$200,000 each for a defamation case and for a sexual abuse case,
$146,200 in a trade secret and interference with contractual relations case, and $100,000 awarded for a trespassing claim. In the
Apodaca case above (number 7 above), the jury awarded $50,000.
Business Verdicts and Personal
The average business plaintiff’s verdict was $887,466 with a median
of $97,270. Such cases included breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, insurance bad faith, employment, condemnation,
and property damage. Of all of the business cases tried in 2016,
plaintiffs won a high 81 percent of them.
Statewide $840,917 $40,346 57
United States District Court for the District of Arizona $6,196,890 $787,500 40
Coconino County $3,923,595 $1,473,510 100
Maricopa County $346,688 $25,736 60
Yuma County $229,975 $229,975 50
Santa Cruz County $225,699 $32,546 100
Pima County $194,983 $197,500 100
Pinal County $167,333 $167,000 66
Trials Won by
2016 ARIZONA PLAINTIFF’S VERDICT AVERAGES BY VENUE
falling below the standard of care and defended that Najafian died
of excited delirium. The jury awarded $2 million.
Rosemary Martin v. Byron Falk et al.,
Maricopa County Superior Court, CV2014-00940911
Rosemary Martin was walking in a crosswalk when she
was hit by a vehicle driven by Byron Falk. Falk admitted negligence.
Martin sustained a left tibia fracture that required open reduction
and internal fixation plus left knee replacement, a closed head
injury, ligament damage to her right knee that required reconstruction, burns to her back and right arm, two cracked teeth, and
scarring of her legs. She argued that she could no longer do work
that required standing for several hours. Falk argued that she did
not report her symptoms until six months later, that her fractures
had healed and were stable, and that she had no restrictions and
could return to work. The jury awarded $2 million.