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Nuclear Verdicts and the Emotions of the Jury

Author: Cheryl Wilson

Guest Editor: Ashley Kaye

January 26, 2021 9:08am

A fair and balanced jury trial is the ultimate human expression of the law.  It is a kaleidoscope of working parts of people, documents, and things.  Witnesses paint pictures with answers to questions drafted by skillful attorneys.  Attorneys design questions to impact the jury on an emotional level.  Each question matters.  Each answer counts.  A lawyer’s countenance is important.  The manner of questioning is structured.  Both sides must meaningfully…

Landlords and Tigers and Bears – Oh My! How Landlords are Becoming the Villains of COVID-19 and What They Can Do About It

Author: Rob Olson

Guest Editor: Ashley Kaye

January 21, 2021 9:00am

There are going to be many challenges as we begin 2021.  One such challenge is the expiration of eviction moratoriums.  According to a joint UCLA and USC study regarding Covid-19 and renter distress, between 58% and 69% of tenants in Los Angeles lost income due to Covid.  In order to make rent payments, tenants have dipped into savings, asked family and friends for assistance, or gone into debt.  Furthermore, according to the study, 10-20% of the tenants…

Impact of COVID-19 on Juror Perceptions

Author: Tina Ma, Mike Coffey

Guest Editor: Ashley Kaye

January 21, 2021 9:00am

The pandemic has indisputably and substantially affected all aspects of our lives.  It is not surprising the effects of the pandemic in our everyday lives have also impacted jurors and their perceptions during litigation and trial.  The psychological effects of the pandemic, along with the new tools used for remote litigation, have the ability to affect juror perceptions.  Attorneys and parties planning for a trial during the pandemic must consider these changes…

California’s Supreme Court Opens a Path So Plaintiffs Can Recover Greater Nuclear Verdicts Against “Deep Pocket” Defendants

Author: Rob Olson

October 12, 2020 3:11pm

In August 2020, California’s Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion and created a significant exception to California Proposition 51 (“Prop 51”). The result of this new exception means a single defendant could be responsible for the entire non-economic damages award, even if a jury apportioned more fault to other defendants — and the plaintiff. This opinion will likely create a new strategy for the plaintiffs’ bar. We anticipate plaintiffs will begin pleading more intentional tort causes of actions and actively attempting to prove these claims, especially against…

Containing Nuclear Verdicts: Preparing for Success in New York Labor Law Claims

Author: Mike Coffey

Claims Magazine – September, 2020

New York has experienced an explosion of nuclear verdicts in Labor Law jury trials in the last few years. In 2015, the average payout of a neck/back injury came in just under $3.8 million, while a traumatic brain injury received around $5 million, according to VerdictSearch. Skip ahead just a few short years, and by 2019, the average neck/back injury was awarded $6.8 million at trial, while brain injuries skyrocketed to over $27 million. What is happening out there?

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The Reptile Theory: Use it!

Author: Robert Tyson

Daily Journal – July 31, 2020

There has been an explosion of nuclear verdicts in recent years, with plaintiffs awarded billions of dollars in damages for all types of losses purportedly sustained at the hands of small businesses and large corporations. This trend is a major problem for corporate America, as well as the attorneys who defend these claims.

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Prevent Runaway Jury Verdicts by Neutralizing the Reptile Theory: Viewpoint

Author: Robert Tyson

Claims Journal – May 10, 2019

We see the frequent headlines: A plaintiff is awarded millions of dollars in damages for a physical or emotional injury purportedly sustained at the hands of a small business or large corporation. While many applaud an injured plaintiff for holding wrongdoers accountable, it is clear the frequency of outrageous jury verdicts is on the rise, and something needs to be done.

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Best way to get a large verdict? Ask for it.

Author: Robert Tyson

Daily Journal – February 21, 2018

It is a tactic that most defendants resist, and something defense attorneys rarely do. Give a number, always. Give your number to the jury early, give it often, and of course, it must never go up. While this strategy is rarely employed by the defense, it is critical for a successful jury verdict.

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