Damage opening statement outline
I’ve talked about one page notes during trial in several different context’s. The idea of a one page reminder is tokeep one focused on thekey issues, to force simplification and to provide notes for reference that are easily used. This is a one page outline of an opening statement in ajury trial involving a badly injured man. This portion is the damage portion only. The case involved a manelectrocuted while working resulting in severe burns and multiple traumatic amputations.
I like to introduce people the jury will see in the court room on a regular basis who are assisting me and I always introduce my wife since she will be there with some regularity as well.
There was a huge issue of contributorynegligencebecause it happened while he wasworking on a billboard and hit a high voltage wire only a few feet from where he was working with a metal pole. The wirewas in plain view. This meant we had to admit we did have some responsibility but under comparative negligence law it was insignificant to the defendant. Plus we were willing to admit our responsibility, but defendant denied any responsibility. So that was dealt with in opening. . There was a prior and after injury history of marital problems whichbecame relevant to the damage claim and was admissible.It had to be disclosed in jury selection and dealt with in opening.
I usedsome Power point and a four minute video of the client’s daily activities. But, note thatI did not have the client there during opening and in fact he wasn’t in the court room during the several week trial until he testified. I had to explain his absence to the jury and the reason why so they wouldn’t wonder about it.
I explain the damages – economic and non economic. I explain the time periods – past and life expectancy. I explain that each person has a separate claim and what it is. I cover damage elements as will be set out in the jury instruction and explain what they are. I show a scale of justice diagram and point out that the money has to balance the harm in order to have justice. I have a power point slide with dollarblank lines for each client and each element of damage, separated by past and future, explaining that the jury will have to fill this out. In some casesI advise the jury as to the amounts and in others I don’t. In this kind of case I tell the jury that will begiving them a way to assess reasonable and fair amounts for each of these.However, I do fill in the economic loss in case like this one since it is a very large amount.I also will tell them that the amount is in the millions of dollars because of the severity of the harm.
This isn’t what I would doin every case, but it is an example of what I did in this case as well as how Iwentabout it. I hope this is helpful
1. EXPLAIN ABSENCE OF JEFF (client)
2.INTRODUCE: (1) clientwife (2) my wifeLita (2) technician Mike Dodge
B. BURNS DESCRIBED
– See Burn Checklist
C. OTHER INJURIES See Power Point exhibits
a. Amputation injuries
b. Injury diagram
e. Quad injury
f. Current flow chart: showingshock & heart attack
D. DAMAGE CONCEPTS See Power Point exhibits
(a)two time periods,
(b) two kinds of damage
b.seven claims: Jeff, wife and each child
c. Elements of appraisal: damage factors
d. Quotes re damages
e. Jeff Kuntz’s non economic damages:
(a) Jeff’s attitude about contributory negligence: He takes personal responsibility and accountability for his part
(b) Jeff’s non economic damages:
(2) phantom pain
(4)elements of damages list
E. MARITAL PROBLEMS
a. Explain connection to injuries: See Marital sheet
F. MOM & CHILDREN DAMAGES See Power Point Exhibits
a. Jennifer: loss of consortium past and future
b. Children: loss of consortium past and future
G. DAILY ACTIVITY VIDEO 4 minutes long
H. CONCEPT OF JUSTICE See Power Point exhibits
a.Scale of justice diagram
b.Total verdict diagram all parties (blank)
c. photos —–