Jury Verdicts Database for Cook County, Illinois, and All Counties in California, 1960-1984 (ICPSR 6232)

Published: Jan 12, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
Terence Dunworth; Nicholas Pace


Version V1

This data collection contains information on jury verdict civil cases in Cook County, Illinois, and all counties in California. The RAND Corporation's Institute for Criminal Justice began this study in the early 1980s in response to widespread public interest in the magnitude of dollar verdicts returned in civil cases. The goal was to record salient information found in court reporter publications to allow for a wide range of future research. Two such publications were chosen because of their favorable reputations and because they both dated back to 1960: the "Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter" of Chicago, Illinois, and "Jury Verdicts Weekly" of Santa Rosa, California. The collection of data for this study was conducted in two phases. Phase I included cases from 1960-1979, and Phase II coded cases from 1980-1984, including a small number of cases from 1985. In both phases, only cases in which a jury reached a definitive outcome (including deadlocked or hung juries) were included. In Phase I, only San Francisco County cases from the California reporter publication were included. In Phase II, all California counties were included. For all cases in Phase I, a Main Form was completed that included jurisdiction, court type, dates of incidents and trial, information about parties involved, trial occurrences, outcome of trial, awards, and fees. In addition to this Main Form, at least one of nine different case-type forms was completed: Common Carrier-Passenger Form, Dram Shop Form, Injuries on Property/Attractive Nuisance Form, Malpractice Form, Miscellaneous Form, Products Liability Form, Street Hazards/Highway Construction Form, Traffic/Pedestrian/Rider Form, and Work Injuries and FELA Form. These forms contained questions regarding the behavior of each party in the case and other characteristics and facts relevant to the case. A Jury Verdicts Form was completed for all cases in Phase II. This form picked up general case-level and defendant-specific data such as dates and length of trial, case outcome, original number of parties involved, and collapsing of multiple defendants into one case. For each plaintiff, a Plaintiff Information Form was filled out containing general plaintiff information such as losses claimed and the coder's assessment of the degree of the plaintiff's comparative negligence. This form also indicated which of the loss forms was coded for this plaintiff (only one loss form was completed for each plaintiff): Death Action, Personal Injuries, or Money Damages. Each form contained basic information about the outcome of the case, specific damages claimed by the plaintiff, and loss-specific data. Additionally, an Ancillary Action Form was completed for any associated claims that were adjudicated at the time of the main case, such as counter-suits by defendants. The questions on this form were the same as those on the main Jury Verdicts Form. Finally, this study includes an Integrated Jury Verdicts Database (Part 33) containing data from both phases to permit easier analysis of data from all years. This database contains five sections: (1) the basic trial information, which includes the trial dates and lengths, reporter source, and jurisdiction, (2) the main case information, which includes more detailed data about the case such as number of parties involved, case type, types of losses claimed, and total compensatory and punitive awards, (3) information about the first ancillary action, (4) information about the second ancillary action, and (5) a listing of all the forms used.

Dunworth, Terence, and Pace, Nicholas. Jury Verdicts Database for Cook County, Illinois, and All Counties in California, 1960-1984. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-12. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06232.v1

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National Science Foundation (SES-8710503)

1983 -- 1985

San Francisco cases found in "Jury Verdicts Weekly" published from 1960 to 1979, and all cases published from 1980 to mid-1985, one out of every four traffic, pedestrian, or common carrier cases in the "Cook County Jury Verdicts Reporter" published from 1960 to 1979, plus all other cases in those issues, and one out of every four traffic or common carrier cases in the "Cook County Jury Verdicts Reporter" published from 1980 to mid-1985, plus all other cases in those issues.

All civil cases ending with trial by jury in Cook County, Illinois, or California.

Cook County, Illinois, and California county court records

administrative records data



2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 35 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.

2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.