With Nuclear Verdicts on the Rise, Texas Legislature Works to Address Reptile Theory in Courts
Nuclear verdicts have jumped over 300% in the past decade, according to an analysis in JD Supra, and the average verdict size for a lawsuit involving a truck collision has increased from $2.3 million to $22.3 million. Eric Zalud, co-chair of Benesch’s Transportation and Logistics Practice Group, argues that the drastic jump in the dollar amount of these suits has been propagated by a sophisticated yet primordial strategy known as the Reptile Theory.
State legislatures across the United States are taking notice of this issue, and its effects upon the transportation sector in particular, and are working towards legislative fixes. One of the first bills to address this problem directly, Texas House Bill 19, recently passed on a bipartisan basis and will take effect in September. The law aims to compartmentalize the trial process and create new procedural thresholds, with the goal of putting the brakes on the Reptile Theory.