In Their Own Words: 5 Reasons Why Jurors Are Unwilling to Treat a Corporation and an Individual Equally

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Our survey asked participants to offer reasons about why they could not follow the court’s instruction to treat a corporation and an individual equally.   Those participants who responded “Yes” or “Not Sure” offered responses that emphasized the differences in resources between corporations and most individuals, the organizational structure of corporations, and strong disagreement with the concept that corporations and individuals are equal. See here for our other post on the reasons why participants would have no problem treating an individual and a corporation as equal under the law.

When we combined the comments from the participants who said “Yes” or “Not Sure” regarding treating a corporation and an individual the same, five themes emerged:

  1. Inequality of Infrastructure & Human Resources
  2. Different Definitions
  3. Inequality of Financial Resources 
  4. Negative Opinions or Distrust of Corporations
  5. Lack of Fairness to the Individual


*In 2017, Bonora Rountree conducted an online survey with 300 jury-eligible California residents to explore answers to questions about Corporate Personhood and Corporate Responsibility as ascribed by criminal and civil jury instructions. We analyzed the data to identify the relationship between agreement and understanding of corporate responsibility and corporate personhood jury instructions and other attitudinal measures. For more information on our survey methodology and results, email us at

Bonora Rountree Trial Consulting & Research