That was the topic of an interesting article in today’s Employment Law 360, Economic Woes Could Make For Stingy Juries ($) . May is the operative words as the jury consultants quoted in the story have differing views.
One line of thought is that jurors, feeling their own economic crises are apt to be less likely to give large awards, particularly for “soft” damages like pain and suffering. The other is that economic stress is likely to make jurors more punitive toward large institutions.
Since I strongly believe that large jury awards in employment cases are almost always fueled more by anger than sympathy, it is the latter strain of thought that gives me concern.