Mississippi Lawsuits

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One Mississippi lawsuit placed among the nation's Top 100 jury verdicts in 2002.

That's a sharp drop from the year before, when the state had five verdicts in the Top 100.

February's report in The National Law Journal ranked a May 2002 $30.2 million verdict against Southern Farm Bureau Life at Number 76.

In 2001, the Mississippi verdicts included a $150 million jury award in an asbestos suit that ranked Number 9 in the country.

The 2001 verdicts brought national attention to Mississippi "jackpot justice" and fueled tort reform, which was passed in a special legislative session last fall.

Trial lawyers say 2001 was an aberration and the latest results are probably more indicative of the reality.

Proponents of the new laws, which took effect in January, said big jury awards were hurting the state's business climate.