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November 2, 2005

Press Contact:
Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471.7330

Law Professors Receive Grant to Support Study of Medical
Malpractice Litigation and Invitation to Present Research

AUSTIN, Texas—Professors Bernard Black and Charles Silver and Visiting Professor William Sage at The University of Texas School of Law have been awarded a UT research grant to support a study entitled "Jury Verdicts and Post-Trial Outcomes: Evidence from Texas Medical Malpractice Cases, 1988–2003."

Also involved in the project are Professor Kathryn Zeiler, a member of the Georgetown law faculty and a scholar-in-residence at UT Law this fall, and Professor David Hyman, a former visiting professor at UT Law who teaches in the Colleges of Law and Medicine at the University of Illinois.

The study will use a dataset maintained by the Texas Department of Insurance to compare jury verdicts in medical malpractice cases with actual post-verdict payments. Preliminary results indicate a large gap, meaning that successful plaintiffs usually take home significantly less than jurors award. The largest verdicts suffer the biggest "haircuts" in both absolute dollars and percentage terms.

The research team was also honored with an invitation to present the pending study at a peer-reviewed conference on medical malpractice sponsored by the Institute for Civil Justice at RAND and the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Only seven proposals were accepted for the conference, which will be held at the new RAND headquarters building in Santa Monica, California, on March 10–12, 2006.

The research team's first investigation of medical malpractice claims in Texas, entitled "Stability, Not Crisis: Medical Malpractice Claim Outcomes in Texas, 1988–2002," was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Empirical Legal Studies in July 2005. Its finding that no medical malpractice litigation crisis occurred in Texas received news coverage nationwide and throughout the state.