SOME ARGUMENT IDEAS

Today I sorted through notebooks from my practice to organize the  material and as I did so I noticed a few things I thought might be worth sharing with you. By the way, what struck me was the fact that much of what I’ve used in trial over the years was originally someone else’s thought or idea. A whole lot of “new” tactics and ideas  are really old  ones with new dressing on them. But, here you are and in no particular order.

  • The brain isthe greatest, finest, most wonderful organ in the human body. A man thinks with it. He loves with it. He hates with it. He fights people with it. It’s the difference between an animal on the street and a human being. This wonderful brain has been damaged.
  • Remember, there is a very fundamental right involved here – a fundamental right guaranteed all of us under the Constitution of the United States – freedom of choice. This family has a right to decide for themselves how they want Sandy taken care of. No one has a right to dictate to them that they must put her in a nursing home or be told how Sandy should be taken care of. A fair verdict in this case will give this family a choice in that regard. This is a  fundamental right of freedom of choice and it’s only available  through your verdict. It’s just as simple as that.
  • What’s the importance of the loss to Joey of about 15% of his mental ability? What’s the difference to Joey for the rest of his life? The difference between possible greatness and mediocrity. The difference between Lincoln and me. The difference between poets and philosophers. This is the difference. The loss will not just endure for a time. It will grow and grow as he gets older and finds his competitive ability impaired in going through life. The boy you have seen does not even resemble the boy you would have seen had you seen him just before the accident happened. That Boyd no longer exists. The man you will see in his future does not even resemble the man he would have been. His parents who had such joy and pride in such hopes for him cannot be compensated for the loss of those hopes. His dreams have been destroyed.
  • The boy is in pain. those of us who know the Ecclesiastes chapter in the Bible know there is a time for pain, there is a time for tears and a time for laughter. Childhood is the time for laughter and not pain. We can’t give him back his carefree childhood. That’s gone. We can’t give him back a release from pain. We can only give him money. So it becomes my function to talk to you about money. That’s all that can be talked about.
  • I pray that whatever verdict you bring in will be sanctioned by your own sense of conscience, ratified by your reason and express the conscience of this community.
  • He is a prisoner in his wheelchair. His hands are virtually useless. He has no sensation below the chest. He needs a suppository to stimulate bowel movements. He can’t feel it if he breaks a leg. A common cold could be life-threatening. He views the whole world sitting down. How he must yearn to just stand up, walk, run, go to the bathroom. How he must suffer with his total dependence on other people. Maybe he’ll feel the joy of falling in love, but doctors say he will never feel the joy of siring a child. He can never walk down the aisle. He’ll be lucky to find someone to go down the aisle with him.
  • Wheelchairs are the shoes of a quadriplegic. He’s imprisoned in his wheelchair with no possibility of ever being released. Unlike prisoners in cells who were let out each day for exercise he is permanently a prisoner in his wheelchair.  His situation is worse than death.
  •  “preponderance of the evidence” is like a baseball game with a score of 9 to 8. The team with nine points wins even though the other team scored eight points.
  • Who’s in a better position to have known? Who’s should’ve spent the few dollars to make it safe?  A national railroad with many  employees and experts at their disposal or this young man?  the parties are not on equal footing.  In addition, there’s a great deal of difference in the ability to know and the power to do something about it.  The young man was there for a few minutes or a few hours, but the railroad has had weeks and months and years of knowing what’s going on on their own property. They have no right to shift the responsibility to somebody else with all the employees and  experts at their disposal.
  • If you go to Disneyland watch the people. They don’t go around and inspect all of the rides before they get on them. They expect that the facility is safe because the people who run it have the most knowledge and information as well as superior knowledge about it. If the owner with the superior knowledge wasn’t aware of the danger why is it reasonable to blame the person who relied upon the owner’s superior knowledge.
  • We all can go to the polls and vote with thousands of other people.  But here you have a chance to directly and personally do an enormous amount of good by your vote for another person. You can individually dispense justice in this case directly. You can individually vote to establish safety standards to prevent other events like this. In this case your verdict can be one that will allow you to tell your friends and your children and your neighbors that you participated in a vote that had historic significance. yes, you’ve made a sacrifice by being here for this trial, but you have this consolation: You’re not here on some trivial matter nor have you wasted your time on something insignificant. What you do here will have importance  beyond these parties and this courtroom and far into the future. You have the power to make changes and to do justice in a very important way.
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