North Carolina Lawyers Weekly publishes a list each year of the top verdicts and settlements reported in the previous year.(1) The 2007 list was topped by a $90 million class action settlement in a case of alleged securities fraud against Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. The plaintiffs were investors who had acquired Krispy Kreme stock in 2003 and 2004. They claimed to have suffered losses as a result of alleged false and misleading statements by company officers and directors concerning the company’s revenue and earnings forecast.
The cutoff for the "Top 25" verdicts and settlements in 2007 was $2.4 million, which represents the second year of decline in that benchmark (the cutoff in 2006 was $2.7 million; the cutoff in 2005 was $2.9 million). The cases on 2007’s "Top 25" list included medical malpractice, land condemnation, personal injury, nursing home neglect, price fixing, and ERISA class action claims.
A few of the notable verdicts and settlements included the following:
- $20 million verdict ($5 million compensatory damages, $15 million punitive damages) in a wrongful death case concerning an off-duty police officer killed during a shooting spree.
- $11.9 million settlement in a condemnation case concerning property at the intersection of Capitol Boulevard and I-40 in Raleigh.
- $10.4 million verdict in a medical negligence claim concerning an 11-year-old boy who suffered brain injuries and spinal cord injuries allegedly resulting from treatment at a hospital, including negligent application of halo screws on the boy’s head.
- $8.3 million verdict against the County of Durham awarded to a group of home builders who alleged that the County did not have legislative authority to impose school impact fees on the builders.
- $5.5 million settlement in a negligence case concerning a tractor-trailer accident that resulted in the plaintiff suffering paraplegia and blindness.
- $5.4 million settlement in a nursing home negligence case in which a patient’s death allegedly resulted from untreated symptoms.
- $2.8 million settlement of a class action suit concerning alleged price-fixing relating to ingredients used in food products.
1 North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, January 28, 2008.