Although plaintiffs' attorneys will argue the point, runaway verdicts are more often the product of some type of mistake on the part of the defense counsel rather than the result of some superhuman performance on the part of plaintiffs' counsel. Accordingly, with rare exceptions, most runaway verdicts can be avoided through careful actions of defense counsel. By identifying -- and avoiding -- the most common causes of runaway verdicts, defense counsel can usually assure themselves (and their clients) that if the plaintiff does prevail at trial, the verdict will not be excessive. This article considers several of the most common causes of runaway verdicts and provides proactive steps that defense counsel can take to avoid these potential pitfalls. First, the article discusses ways that defense counsel can inadvertently project a negative image to the jury. Then, the article considers missteps in pretrial preparation; the article offers ways to control a potential runaway verdict through discovery, summary judgment, and motions in limine.