Title

The Consolidation of Plaintiffs: The Effects of Number of Plaintiffs on Jurors' Liability Decisions, Damage Awards, and Cognitive Processing of Evidence

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2000

Publication Source

Journal of Applied Psychology

Volume

85

Issue

6

Inclusive pages

909-918

DOI

10.1037/0021-9010.85.6.909

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

In this study, 135 jury-eligible adults were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 aggregations of plaintiffs involving 1, 2, 4, 6, and 10 claimants. Jurors were shown a 5- to 6-hr trial involving claims of differential repetitive stress injuries by each plaintiff. Measures concerning liability, damages, and various cognitive and attributional factors were collected. The defendant was more likely to be judged as liable as the number of plaintiffs increased. Awards reached a zenith at 4 plaintiffs and then began to decrease. Increases in the number of plaintiffs who were aggregated degraded information processing. Limits of juror competence in complex trials and juror aids were discussed.

Keywords

number of plaintiffs, liability decisions & damage awards & cognitive processing of evidence, 20–67-yr-old jurors

Disciplines

Psychology

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