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It was another banner year for attorney Kenneth J. Allen.

Allen has again been recognized as tops in the state when it comes to million-dollar jury verdicts, according to the 2005 Year in Review of The Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter.

Allen won two verdicts last year exceeding $1 million, which gives him a total of nine over the past five years.

Other local attorneys to make the million-dollar list are Jon Schmoll, of Merrillville, and David Holub and David Jensen, of Hammond.

Attorney Gregory Sarkisian, of Portage, Kristin Hill and Barry Sherman, of Hammond, and Terrence Rubino and Steven Sersic, of Dyer, had victories of their own, which placed them on The Gold List of 17 attorneys statewide who won multiple auto negligence verdicts of $100,000 or more.

Allen, who has offices in Valparaiso, Merrillville and Homewood, Ill., said he is picky about the cases he chooses. He said he accepts less than 5 percent of the cases presented to him and is interested not only in fair compensation and justice for his clients, but also in encouraging safety improvements.

"I'm pretty passionate about this whole thing," Allen said.

Sarkisian, who added a $137,500 auto negligence verdict to his record in November, said these types of cases account for about 75 percent of his practice.

The large-sum verdicts represent cases involving lasting injury, he said. The biggest challenge, he said, is convincing a jury of a lifelong injury when the damage is internal.

While the report's million-dollar verdicts and Gold List attract attention from the public, Editor Shannon Ragland said the $180 book is targeted primarily for use by attorneys and insurance companies.

Both groups use the statistics in the book when negotiating settlements, which is how the vast majority of civil cases are resolved, he said. The book provides details on various types of jury verdicts.

"How do you know what it is supposed to settle for?" he asked.

Ragland publishes the same types of statistics in Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee, in addition to a version for federal verdicts.

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