By Hon. (Ret.) Ken E. Adair
Jurors Love Helping a Person Fight Their Way Back
Video Transcribed: You know everyone loves a fairy tale and one of the truths about fairy tales is that in the beginning, there are dark times, there are ugly times, there are difficult times. Every fairy tale has a story of delivery and, and that the evil is overcome and that there is the happily ever after. That’s why we love fairy tales. Most of your cases that go to trial, if they get that far to where they’re in front of a jury, there are some dark times, and it might be negative toward your client.
In other words, it might be that your client was in the process of overcoming a dark past, terrible upbringing. They might have made poor decisions. They might not have been employable. They might’ve had anger issues. Might’ve had substance abuse issues, and this is true in criminal cases and civil cases.
But when a person is struggling to overcome, when they’re fighting to overcome a bad situation, not everybody grew up in la-la land. In fact, most people didn’t grow up in la-la land. They grew up with difficulties in their life and everybody’s had trauma and everybody’s had difficulties.
But when there’s a particularly tough story, jurors love the fact that when a person is fighting to come out of a very dire situation. In my second civil jury trial ever, my client was severely overweight, she would be classified as probably morbidly obese. She was involved in a car accident where a semi-truck launched off the back of her car and it broke her back.
It compressed fractured the front of her spine, not the back part, which is the more dangerous part, but it just bent her over and crushed the front of her spine. She had to have surgery. The defense in this case just went after her weight, just nonstop mercilessly. There were 42 references to my client’s weight in their expert trial deposition.
I pointed that out, my friend co-counsel in Tulsa pointed that out to me and he labeled every one of all 42 references. I read those to the jury in my final close. By the time we got to trial, by the time I was reading that to the jury, my client had lost 62 pounds. By the time she got to trial and we’d been offered $250,000, I rejected it. We went to trial and I told my client’s story and show that she had overcome this obesity.
They were blaming her morbid obesity on why she was having trouble healing, but in the end, the jury awarded my client over one and a half million dollars because they love a success story. They want to be part of the happily ever after. If you can show that it’s deserving, the jury will be a part of the happily ever after. They will help your client overcome. If you’re willing to tell the truth and tell the story of your client’s overcoming.
So everybody loves a fairy tale. Everybody loves the happily ever after. If you can tell the story in a way that, again, it includes the good and bad and the ugly, and there’s a story of triumphing and overcoming adversity. The jury wants to be a part of that story. So again, I hope this video has been helpful, and thank you for listening.
The only way to really learn how to put on a jury trial is to simply try a jury trial. That’s not always a great idea, especially when it’s a high stakes case and you don’t have to do this alone. You can always have an experienced co-counsel by your side. I’m Trial Attorney Ken Adair and I provide first chair and co-counsel services because now that I’m retired from the bench, getting justice through aggressive and competent jury trial practice is all I want to do. If You are looking for First and Second Chair Co-Counsel, Focus Groups & Mock Jury Trial Sociometrics, Jury Trial Preparation Services, visit trial-win.com