Back to the lawsuit. I don't believe that such a case is limited to Commiefornia
In the late 90s, I was picked from a jury pool to hear a civil case in Ft. Worth. The Plaintiff had slipped on a quarter sized piece of melon rind on a shopping cart ramp at a supermarket on a busy Friday night, injuring her back. Her lawyer claimed that she was due damages for medical bills plus pain and suffering but never brought up an amount ($50K) until closing arguments
1. Her husband had walked over the same area a few seconds before she did and told her to watch her step
2. The store only sold melons whole - no evidence was presented as to how the melon had gotten from a whole state to the small piece as part of the store's suggested negligence
3. The woman claimed that her back problem was entirely due to her fall but had a history of other doctors who treated her for back problems including giving her a "tens" unit. She had gone to a different doctor for this trial.
The trial lasted 3.5 days so there was a lot of emotional testimony about the woman's condition. When the jury retired to deliberate, we took an initial poll and more than half of anonymous ballots were for giving her money. I told them I would gladly go along with a cash award - as long as we could give the store's money to 100 patients at John Peter Smith hospital, too. I refused to budge off that stance until they proved to me why she deserved the money more than the JPS patients did. In less than 2 hours later, we presented a unanimous verdict for the defendant - no monetary award. The judge, assuming that the deliberations were going to be lengthy, had gone home so another judge was called in to preside over the jury verdict.
Needless to say, I've never served on a civil jury since.