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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

The Evolving Litigation Industry – Real and Mock Jurors Now Part of Litigation Seminars

The litigation industry continues to evolve. Starting a couple of years back, it became far more more common for judges in repetitive types of litigation (e.g. asbestos, medical malpractice) to appear on panels at litigation seminars. Now things are going the next step and jurors are appearing at seminars in various ways.

Here are two examples. First, HB Litigation Seminars issued this press release to further advertise that a panel of an upcoming asbestos litigation seminar will include two former jurors from asbestos trials. According to the press release:

“SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ — Sharon Boothe, partner and head of programming at HB Litigation Conferences LLC, announced today that she has added to the faculty of HB’s Sept. 23-25 “National Asbestos Litigation Conference” individuals who served on juries at trials of two high profile California asbestos cases. “These jurors will join 11 judges and a phalanx of experienced asbestos attorneys and experts, plus more than two dozen in-house counsel at what promises to be the most informative asbestos litigation program we have produced since we started running these events in 1992,” Boothe said.

The jurors come from Haupt v. A.W. Chesterton and Woodard v. Alfa Laval, both of which involved mesothelioma claims that resulted in large verdicts where the U.S. Navy was held responsible for the bulk of the awards. The Haupt case resulted in a $1.45 million award. The jury in the Woodard case returned a nearly $17 million award, thought to be the largest asbestos mesothelioma verdict returned in Los Angeles County.”

The second example of jurors in seminars comes from a rival litigation industry service provider, HarrisMartin. Last June, that litigation seminar firm ran this asbestos litigation seminar that consisted of a mock trial with jurors wired up to provide real time reactions to arguments and questions. I attended a similar prior seminar from the same firm and it was quite good because it allows many people to obtain the benefit of mock jury studies all at one time. That’s helpful because mock jury studies are not cheap, and so insurers and clients sometimes make short-sighed decisions not to undertake the expense or effort, sometimes leading to trial disasters.

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