Applying reptile concepts in trial

David Ball and Don Keenan have done an excellent job of outlining the importance of Reptile motivation and the practical applications in their book Reptile. They recommend the plaintiff show the defendant’s actions constitute an immediate public danger and that a verdict for the plaintiff will reduce that danger. Since the ultimate goal is survival, safety and safe practices are the way to achieve it. This case, you should argue, presents an opportunity to make things safer by their verdict. In fact, the justice system is a public safety system. They suggest that the important points to be made at trial are these:

1. The defendant’s conduct threatens everyone’s safety

2. A proper verdict for the plaintiff will reduce the danger

3. If a proper verdict for the plaintiff is not given, the danger will be increased

Therefore, our job is to teach the jury safety rules that apply to the case and show the violation of those rules. We need to demonstrate that the greater the danger, the greater the care required. There were safety rules that applied in this case. The defendant in this case failed to follow the rules by doing the job right. The defendant violated a safety rule.

Ball and Keenan recommend that the plaintiff apply the "no unnecessary risk" rule. That is no one is allowed to needlessly endanger another. For example, no doctor is allowed to needlessly endanger a patient and a company making products is never allowed to needlessly endanger the public. Where there is more then one way to accomplish the same thing, you must always select the safest way.

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