jackpot justice
(JAK.pawt JUS.tus) n. The practice of awarding huge monetary settlements to plaintiffs in court cases.

Example Citation:
The Mississippi Legislature is fighting over reforming the state's judicial system, long ruled, many say, by a fraternity of trial lawyer graduates of the Ole Miss school of law. Similar "tort reform" battles are being waged across the nation, and Congress is expected to enter the fray soon. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has warned companies about doing business in Mississippi, calling the state the "lawsuit mecca of America." Corporate lawyers believe "jackpot justice" is so bad there that they rate its civil litigation system the worst in the nation, according to a Harris poll this year.
—Tom Wilemon, Beth Musgrave, "Lawyers' influence over judges probed," The Charlotte Observer, November 3, 2002

Earliest Citation:
The liability insurance crisis has produced a new movement—as emotionally charged as civil rights and feminism in prior decades—that seeks to change the way the nation's courts decide personal-injury claims...Typical criticism of the present system comes from Constance Heckman, who refers to it as "jackpot justice" because it encourages people to file multimillion-dollar lawsuits, regardless of the actual harm or loss suffered.
—Glen Elsasser, "Ballots reflecting insurance revolt proposals unlikely to stop movement," Chicago Tribune, October 27, 1986

Related Words:

Categories: