Byline: Rich Tucker, Times-Union staff writer
When a Jacksonville judge last week rejected the $5.35 million malpractice verdict jurors awarded to former Jaguar Jeff Novak, medical defense attorneys called the case a frightening example of what happens when juries make decisions based on emotion.
They blame rash decision making for driving up malpractice awards nationwide, and they cite the judge's decision in Novak's case as an example of the legal system correcting itself.
But some legal experts wonder if the trend of growing malpractice awards is an unavoidable consequence of jurors being asked to play lawyer, doctor and judge.
"There's always been the concern that jurors, particularly when they're frustrated with the system, take matters in their own hands to produce what they see as a fair verdict," said Scott Makar, a Jacksonville lawyer who helps write …