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As employment practices liability lawsuits fueled by the recessionary job cuts move forward, experts see mixed signals for claims severity, including a possible fourfold spike in the level of emotional distress awards in successful cases.

“I’m not an insurer, but I am pretty sure that is doing something to the [loss] reserves” of EPL insurers, said Sarah Goldstein, a partner with Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in Los Angeles, who provided the estimates of emotional distress damages during a panel discussion at the Professional Liability Underwriting Society’s International Conference in November.

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