When we are ready to start a trial we often have confusion about whatissues to spend time on.As the case progressed thorough discovery we learned of more and more issues. There were damage facts we didn’t know about that thedefense nowhas seized upon. Defense experts have raised issues in our discovery that we hadn’t anticipated.As these issues develop we have run about trying to find answers and plug the holes in the dike. Now that the trial is around the corner we have multiple issues of all kinds that we feel we must deal with. However, there isn’t enough time in voir dire to cover all of them and some issues are just distracting if we deal with them.We also know that at trial the defense will throwout a lot more innuendos and raise a variety of new issues. So what are we going to do aboutit?
The first t hing we should do is to identify the "reptilian" issues. Those things which motivate people to decide things at subconscious level. Since survival is the number one motivator we look for issues that impactthe jurors, their famines and the community. Protection of self and family is a hugemotivator. So we need to re frame our case issues in order to show the importanceof the verdict inour cases as impacting the safety and wellbeing of the jurors, their famines andtheir community. Those are the key issues that need to be discussed from voir dire to argument.
We also must identify the serious issues in the case of both liability and damages. We need to stick with those issues throughout the trial no matterwhat distracting issues the defense raises. Wemust resist the temptation tochase down every defense rabbit they turn loose in our trials. Stick with the essentials no matter what. A goodway to do that is to haveone page of the issues you keep in front of you during the trial. Here is an actualexample of a jury trialresulting in a record jury verdict. Create your own lists for each of your trials andstay with it;
KIRKLAND ISSUE SHEET
- THE FIRST RULE OF MEDICINE IS THAT A PATIENTMUST NEVER NEEDLESSLY BE PUTIN DANGER OFSERIOUS HARM
1.FOCUS ON COVER UP
(1)“THERE IS ONE THING WORSE THEN DOING SOMETHING WRONG & THAT’S LYING ABOUT IT AFTERWARD”
(2)“WE EXPECT PEOPLE TO STEP FORWARD & ADMIT THEY MADE A MISTAKE & SAY THEY ARE SORRY”
(3)DEFENDANTS CARED MORE ABOUT COVERING UP THEN SAVING THE CHILD
2.PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE
(1)NO MEDICAL TEAMWORK – RIGHT HAND Didn’t KNOW WHAT LEFT HAND IS DOING
(2)THE “MEDICAL TEAM” IS NOW PASSING BUCK ONE TO THE OTHER.
(3)“IF CAN’T TRUSTOUR DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS WHO CAN WETRUST?
3.COVER UP AND BUCK PASSING
(1)REFUSE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND BE ACCOUNTABLE
(2)INSTEAD CHANGED MEDICAL RECORDS
(3)POINT FINGER AT EACH OTHER
4.PARENTS WERE IGNORED & NOT OFFEREDA CHOICE
(1)RISKS OF AMNIO NOT Enplaned
(2)RIGHTOF CONSUMER TO BE EDUCATED AND INVOLVED IN MEDICAL DECISIONS IGNORED
(3)DOCTOR KNOWS BEST – JUST TRUST ME
(4)BAD TO WORSE
(6)IGNORED HANDWRITING ON WALL
(7)VIOLATEDFIRST, DO NO HARM
(8)WAITED UNTIL CRISIS GOT OUT OF HAND. THEN TRIED TO COVER UP