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Published in: The Jury Expert, Volume 24, Number 6, 2015.


Although much of the research regarding media exposure has centered on the harmful effects of pretrial publicity in criminal cases, it has been argued that civil cases may be more vulnerable to its effects compared to criminal cases (Bornstein, Whisenhunt, Nemeth, & Dunaway, 2002). In large part this appears to be due to the potential influence of media depiction of high-profile lawsuits and atypical verdict awards on judgments of liability and damages (Robbennolt & Studebaker, 2003). In our study we examined the effect of exposure to a news article (relating a verdict award in a product liability case) on juror decision-making in a conceptually similar case. We varied the amount of damages awarded by the jury in the news article as well as the amount of time between reading the article and the case summary. Our goal wasto investigate whether and to what extent jurors use available information when awarding damages. In addition, we were interested in the influence of media exposure on perceptions of the plaintiff and defendant