Civil Litigation

  Now that we are back in the courtroom as opposed to our above-the-waist-only position on Zoom, our witnesses/experts’ body language is once again relevant. In working with witnesses, I developed the “Power Sit” – my shorthand for “Please sit up straight, your back against the back of the chair, with your head level, arms on the arms of the chair,” because experience showed me that witnesses who sit this way, demonstrating good posture, are deemed more credible by jurors. How does this work?          – The “Power Sit” bolsters your witnesses’ self-confidence and self-esteem, a consequence of self-respect. Your…
  As we slowly come out of the pandemic, albeit in fits and starts, juror attitudes have understandably shifted in these difficult and trying times. It is inevitable that among your jurors there will be those who are recently unemployed, some for the first time in their work-lives, along with others who have lost savings, homes, opportunities, even careers.   This has corporate defendants obviously concerned, for if corporations have often fared poorly in jurors’ eyes, many are doing even worse now. However, this is hardly the time for plaintiff’s counsel to cry “Huzzah,” for along with the public’s disdain…
  Now that we’re slowly coming out of the pandemic with its restrictions, trials are resuming. With that, jurors are once again entering your world. Darn. Trials would be so much easier if you didn’t have to deal with jurors. Jurors wander off mentally during your most critical testimony. They are distracted by the need to scratch an itch, or by a lawyer’s mannerisms. Jurors are irritated by an expert’s vocal tone, they disapprove of a witness’s attitude. Jurors misunderstand the law and all too often make it up as they go along. Jurors impose their own version of what’s…
  As much as jurors resent a witness who lies, you must have inconvertible evidence that someone is out and out lying in order to even suggest it. Even then, it’s best to let the jurors come to the conclusion that a witness is lying on their own. People are persuaded by their own reasoning far more than by your proffered statements. Use words such as “incorrect” “inaccurate” “not forthcoming” to describe a witness’s testimony as opposed to “lying” or “untruthful.” Let the jurors attach the word “lie” to the testimony – as they will, if your presentation of the…
The U.S. Supreme Court in a late 6-3 ruling on Friday allowed indoor worship services to resume in California, enjoining the total prohibition on those services in counties within the most restrictive tier of the state’s COVID-19 response blueprint. The blueprint, enacted on Aug. 28, created a four-tier system for California counties, based on how rampant the virus is in a given county. Under Tier 1, indoor worship services are prohibited completely. Under Tier 2, they’re capped at the lesser of 25% capacity or 100 attendees, and at the lesser of 50% capacity or 200 attendees under Tier 3. In…