Among the many objectives you have during direct and cross examinations is that of asking the questions the jurors would like to have answered. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you and opposing counsel are the jurors’ only way to find out any and all information.
Areas you or opposing counsel do not explore remain forever unknown to the jurors. The more you explore areas to the jurors’ satisfaction, the less opposing counsel’s impact.
“Inquiring minds want to know” is a good catch-phrase to borrow from the tabloids and keep in mind as you plan your direct and cross of various witnesses. At some point in your preparatory process, divorce yourself as much as you can from your primary role of advocate, and sit mentally in the jury box.
Review your questions and how you think the witnesses will answer. Ask yourself: “If I were I juror, what else might I want to know about this issue? What’s left unanswered?” Enlist the help of others, preferably non-lawyers, in this exercise, to help you figure out how to make sure the jurors get as many as possible of their potential questions answered.
A Winning Tip Dr. Nelson recently consulted on:
Congratulations to Dan Hoven and Carlo Canty of Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry & Hoven, P.C. (Helena, Montana) for their successful 12-0 Defense Verdict in a medical malpractice case against a general surgeon alleging negligent injury of a vagal nerve in a unnecessary Nissen fundoplication surgery causing disabling gastrointestinal symptoms of bloating, pain, diarrhea and constipation, in addition to negligent removal of a perfectly normal gall bladder. Plaintiff sought approximately $2,225,000 in damages for loss of earning capacity, loss of established course of life and pain and suffering.