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How to Keep Your Expert Witness from Crumbling on Cross

March 30th, 2020|

In a recent set of post-trial juror interviews, the jurors we spoke to detailed how the believability of the plaintiff’s expert witness had them strongly favoring the plaintiff. …That is, until the defense attorney caused the expert to fall apart on cross-examination. They described the experience of watching this attorney dismantle the witness as akin to being in court with Perry Mason – and had referred to the attorney by that very name for the rest of trial. The plaintiff expert’s inability to remain consistent through cross-examination was beneficial to our case. Yet, it also highlighted the dangers of being

A Piece of Paper, a Feather… Combating Plaintiff Attorneys’ Interpretation of Burden of Proof

March 16th, 2020|

The plaintiff attorney throws a ream of printer paper down on the table in front of the prospective jurors, and grabs an extra piece of paper from elsewhere, holding it up. “This ream of paper represents evidence, and our burden of proof,” she exclaims. “We have to prove our case by a preponderance of the evidence; so if this ream of paper is 50%, we just need one piece of paper more” – and she sets the single sheet on top of the ream. Here is where you object! If not, here is how the plaintiff attorney continues: “We only

How to Use Map Graphics Effectively in Litigation

February 18th, 2020|

A great many litigation cases benefit from the use of maps to illustrate relationships between objects, people, and spaces. In fact, maps offer such an efficient means to convey ideas to jurors that some verdicts can hinge on the strength of a map’s design. But useful maps don’t come readymade. If you’re trying to explain a disastrous airplane flight path to the jury, for instance, you can’t point at the countryside topography (Figure 1) and fill in the scene with your words alone – poetic as you may be. Fig. 1. A Google Earth image (data provided by Landsat/Copernicus) is

Why You Should Keep Your Client Out of the Courtroom During Voir Dire

February 10th, 2020|

A coworker who made a bad choice with a stylist asks if you like her new haircut. Your pal just finished a less-than-stellar karaoke rendition of “My Way” and asks how it sounded. A dinner host asks if you’re enjoying your meal, which is entirely too salty. We’ve all been in situations like these. How did it make you feel? Were you completely forthright in your response? Did you say what you were thinking, or did you dial it back to avoid appearing rude or hurting someone’s feelings? Now consider how those situations would be different if it were not

How Do Jurors’ Customer Service Expectations Affect Company Defendants?

January 16th, 2020|

We recently conducted a focus group, along with a nationwide survey of over 150 respondents, that shed light on how the internet – and particularly social media – has influenced juror’s attitudes, experiences, and expectations toward customer service. What we learned suggests that their changing attitudes are likely to have a notable effect on consumer-facing company defendants. Let’s look at some of our key results: 1) Social Media Is a Growing Method to Contact Customer Service and Interact with Companies More and more, jurors are using the internet and social media for customer service and to interact with companies. While

How Do “Anchors” Affect Damage Awards for Pain and Suffering?

December 19th, 2019|

“You can’t place a value on human life.” “No amount of money can bring someone back.” These are quotes we hear over and over from mock jurors, as they struggle to place a value on someone else’s suffering. Jurors often struggle more with this than any other part of their deliberations. In many ways, this is not surprising. Not only do jurors have little experience with the legal system as a whole, but they are being asked to do something that, to many of them, feels fundamentally wrong. How do you reduce someone’s life down to a simple figure? How

How a Royal Wedding Shed Light on Implicit Bias

November 13th, 2019|

A Royal Couple v. The Press In early October of 2019, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, took new steps in what has been described as an ongoing battle between the couple and the British Press. In separate filings, the couple sued Associated News, the owners of the Mail on Sunday, along with two other British newspapers, the Sun and the Daily Mirror, over the publication of a private letter to Meghan’s father. In a statement released on the couple’s personal webpage, Prince Harry describes the “ruthless campaign” undertaken by the media against Meghan, and pushes back against “bullying”

Does Trial Length Increase Jury Damages?

October 30th, 2019|

During a particularly lengthy hardship and jury selection process recently in the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) court, a client of ours brought in some interesting research his firm had conducted over the past four years in that venue.  For asbestos cases that saw a plaintiff verdict, they documented the length of the trials and the jury damages awards, as they had the suspicion that the longer the trial, the higher the award.    This was an intriguing hypothesis, since many of our dust cases (asbestos, silica, coal, talc) can exceed six weeks – which, according to most jurors, is an interminable amount of time.    What Are Some Possible Factors at Play? 

What’s the Best Presentation Software for Presenting Documents at Trial?

September 19th, 2019|

We often get questions about what presentation software to use for presenting documents at hearings, arbitrations, and trial. As is so often the case, using the tool best suited for the situation can really make a difference in the outcome – and the wrong choice can leave you holding a stick in a sword fight. Attorneys have a lot of options when it comes to presenting documents in the courtroom. But when it comes to your main workhorse software, the decision is usually between general presentation software like PowerPoint, and more specialized software like Trial Director and OnCue.1 Neither tool

4 Realities of Using Graphics in Trial (According to a Great Trial Attorney)

August 28th, 2019|

At Litigation Insights, we’ve had decades to work with trial graphics and technology. But ours is an assisting role; we experience the world of trial graphics from one side – the consultant’s. As such, we wanted to learn more about how lawyers themselves plan for and use demonstratives. So, we reached out to one of the best trial lawyers we know, Kurt Niederluecke, who chairs Fredrikson & Byron’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group in Minneapolis. Kurt was kind enough to share with us his own experiences with trial graphics. He discussed the realities of using visuals in modern trials and how