Annual Report of the Tennessee Judiciary

The Tennessee Supreme Court has just released the 2007-08 “Annual Report of the Tennessee Judiciary.”   It includes data for the 2007-08 fiscal year.  Here is some of the information revealed in the report:

  1. There were 537 medical malpractice cases filed during the fiscal year.  That is down almost 10%  from the 584 filed during the previous fiscal year.   There were dispositions of 462 of those cases but only 20 of them actually went to trial.
  2. There were 11,171 personal injury and wrongful death cases filed.
  3. There were 506 personal injury and wrongful death cases tried in fiscal 2007-08.  Of those, there were 246 jury trial and 260 non-jury trials.  Last year there were 590 such trials, and 289 of them were jury trials.  Thus, jury trials were down about 15%.
  4. In those 506 trials, there were damage awards in 237 ( a little over 45%).  Of course, the mere fact that there was a damage award does not mean that the plaintiff "won" the case because the plaintiff may have had an offer greater than the judgment awarded.
  5. The total damages awarded in the state increased over the previous fiscal year by over 25% to slightly over $58,000,000.  (Included in that amount is a judgment of over $17,000,000 awarded in a non-jury trial in Putnam County against 2 individuals.  If that judgment is collectible I will eat the Nashville phone directory.)
  6. There were 13 judgments totaling $1,000,000 or more in the entire stated ruing the entire fiscal year.  No county had more than one $1,000,000 verdict. 
  7. There were 191 judgments for the plaintiff less than $100,000.
  8. Shelby County had 36 jury trials in personal injury and wrongful death cases during the fiscal year.  Davidson County had 33, Hamilton County had 22, Madison County had 10 and Montgomery County had only 5  jury trials.  Knox County had the highest number at 44.    District 17 (Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties) did not have a single personal injury or wrongful death jury trial (and they had only 3 non-jury trials).
  9. The "average" amount awarded to a successful plaintiff was about $242,000.   This is the arithmetical mean, greatly influenced by what I am quite confident is the $17,000,000 Putnam County judgment that cannot be collected.  If one throws out that high verdict and the lowest verdict (assume the low verdict is $10,000 – the exact number is unknown) the arithmetical mean drops below $200,000.   The median award would be somewhere under $100,000 (because about 80% of the awards were under $100,000) but we do not have enough data to determine the exact number.