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23 Jun

The Largest Jury Award in History

A Look at the Record-Breaking $150 Billion Verdict:

Jury awards can vary significantly, depending on the details of each case. However, one award stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of its sheer size. The largest jury award in history is a staggering $150 billion, handed down by a Texas jury in 2011 in a civil lawsuit involving a horrific assault on a young boy. This post examines the details of this landmark case.

The Case of Robert Middleton

In 1998, Robert Middleton was celebrating his eighth birthday in Splendora, Texas, when he was tied to a tree, doused with gasoline, and set on fire by a 13-year-old neighbor, Don Collins. The horrific assault left Robert with burns over 99% of his body. Despite the severity of his injuries, Robert survived, but his life was irrevocably altered.

For the following years, Robert underwent numerous surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. In 2010, at the age of 20, he tragically passed away from a form of cancer that is associated with the severe burns he had suffered.

The Lawsuit and Verdict

In 2011, Robert’s parents, Colleen and Bobby Middleton, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Collins. They claimed that the assault and the horrific burns it caused directly led to Robert’s premature death.

The trial took place in December 2011. During the proceedings, a deposition from Robert, recorded before his death, was played. In it, Robert named Collins as his attacker for the first time. The jury found in favor of the Middletons, awarding them a record-breaking $150 billion in punitive damages. The astronomical sum was intended more as a symbolic gesture, as Collins, who was in prison for another offense, had no means to pay such an amount.

The Aftermath

The lawsuit’s primary goal was not about money but was intended to bring attention to the case and pave the way for criminal charges against Collins. In 2014, Collins was indeed charged and found guilty of capital murder. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, the maximum sentence for a crime committed by someone of his age at the time of the assault.

Conclusion

The $150 billion jury award in the Middleton case is an outlier in the history of civil lawsuits. Still, it serves as a stark reminder of the role that the civil justice system can play in delivering a sense of justice, drawing attention to horrific crimes, and paving the way for criminal proceedings.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a severe personal injury, it’s crucial to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. At Selph Law & Associates, we are dedicated to helping victims and their families seek justice. Contact us today for a free consultation at 614-453-0971.

Please note: The outcomes of other cases do not guarantee a similar result in your case. Each case is unique, and the outcome is affected by many factors. The information in this blog post is for general information purposes only. Nothing should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.

Keywords: Jury award, largest jury award, personal injury, wrongful death, civil lawsuit, verdict, Ohio, punitive damages, justice, personal injury attorney.

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