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Has COVID-19 Affected Jurors’ Trust in Government Agencies and Safety Standards? – Part 2

July 7th, 2020|

As discussed in Part 1, Litigation Insights’ national survey1 on the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that jurors have significantly more positive views of individual federal agencies than the federal government as a whole. But do these attitudes apply for everyone? What personal factors influence these opinions? Part 2 of our investigation into COVID-19-era juror attitudes about government safety standards now seeks to analyze more deeply what affects the differences in jurors’ evaluations, along

Has COVID-19 Affected Jurors’ Trust in Government Agencies and Safety Standards? – Part 1

June 30th, 2020|

Corporate defendants often rely on government safety standards for product safety, services, and workplace procedures. In litigation, standards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) all play a key role in their defense, case themes, and expert testimony. “OSHA is the expert in keeping workers safe and employers on task”; “The CDC’s findings are based in the world’s best and most respected science”; “The FDA’s regulations are the gold standard for safety in the pharmaceutical industry” – themes like

Tips for Defending Consolidated Cases

June 15th, 2020|

The Perils of Multi-Plaintiff Trials Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, judges across jurisdictions struggled to balance busy dockets and address their mounting caseloads. The consolidation of cases, particularly in the mass tort arena, has been one tool that judges have turned to in hopes of chipping away at the backlog. Despite opposition from the defense bar and the threat of appellate review, this may be a trend we’ll see more of as the courts struggle to play catch-up in the aftermath of coronavirus closures. And defendants have good reason to be concerned: Consolidated plaintiffs create new complications when it

When Can Reframing Create Juror Backlash?

May 27th, 2020|

Say you represent a company that makes a product people widely have negative opinions about. Luckily, you come up with a different description of the product that makes it sound more positive: For example, your client is in the vaping industry and you want jurors to think of vape pens in a positive light. To accomplish this, you might describe vaping as “healthy” or call a vape pen a “smoking cessation device” – despite the fact that the cartridge at issue contains nicotine. Or perhaps your client used asbestos in its product, so you use the phrase “insulation material” rather

PowerPoint’s Clipboard Tool: Copying Slides Between Trial Presentations with Ease

May 13th, 2020|

A common challenge our clients face is resolving problems created when moving slides from one PowerPoint presentation to another.  Most of the time it works well enough – but occasionally, copying from one presentation and pasting into another can completely mess up your fonts, colors, and more.  Results range from ugly to borderline illegible, depending on the degree of difference between the source and destination decks. This post will show you, step by step, how to undo those unwanted changes and use the PowerPoint Clipboard tool to re-paste your slides the way you intended them to look. Using PowerPoint’s Clipboard

How Do You Combat Confirmation Bias?

April 30th, 2020|

“I’ve just heard too many stories about corporations trying to profit at the expense of the ‘little guy.’” “Everyone sues for everything nowadays. There are too many frivolous lawsuits.” The greedy corporation. The sue-happy plaintiff. If all the world’s a stage, many people in the audience have a clear idea of who the villain and hero will be when it comes to lawsuits. Although the ultimate goal of a jury trial is to present the case to an unbiased panel, in reality no juror comes in to the courtroom as a blank slate. Pre-existing attitudes, beliefs, and opinions all affect

How to Conduct Your Deposition by Video Conference

April 21st, 2020|

When practical circumstances (like scheduling, transportation, or costs issues) necessitate it, conducting deposition by video conference can be an attractive alternative.  [Indeed, as we speak, the COVID-19 pandemic means that the gathering of necessary deposition is significantly more likely to require video conference tools.]  But while increasingly common, video conferencing isn’t perfect.  You can risk encountering technical issues, “technically challenged” witnesses, distractions, and more.  This is why deposing a witness in person is still preferable whenever possible; the ability to address each other directly, make eye contact, and hand off physical documents is tough to beat. So before you run

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