|VIDEO| How a Single Statement Set the Stage for a Blockbuster Trial Verdict

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Apr 24, 2023 8:22:35 AM

Some studies show jurors often make up their minds about a case by the conclusion of opening statements. It’s one reason why distilling your case to a brief, powerful statement during openings is so crucial. And in a new CVN video series, renowned trial presentation expert Shane Read analyzes how Mark Lanier used such a statement to set the stage for a blockbuster talc trial verdict. 

Lanier, of the Lanier Law Firm, represented 22 plaintiffs who claimed that exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products caused ovarian cancer. Talc cases are complex. But Read, with experience in more than 100 trials himself during a long career as an Assistant US Attorney, points out that Lanier breaks down the case early in his opening by using the "Rule of 3," telling jurors that asbestos, breathed in, causes cancer.

The Rule of 3 is a principle suggesting that simplifying a concept into a trio of elements can make that concept more memorable. And Read says Lanier was masterful in using that rule to distill his case against J&J.  

“He simplified a very complicated case to one sentence,” Read says, in breaking down the bottom-line message of Lanier’s opening. “He’s got A, B, C. And any jury is going to remember that.”

Indeed, Read believes having a single, powerful statement that sums up your case is vital. “The most important thing you can do is have a bottom-line message,” he says. 

But beyond that, Read notes Lanier underlined that message with a promise. “He says, ‘I will prove it to you,’” Read explains. “So you have to have a simple, bottom-line message, then you have to have the proof to back it up.”

Lanier’s opening in that 2018 trial set the stage for a $4.69 billion verdict against J&J. And Read’s analysis of the memorable, bottom-line statement at the heart of Lanier’s opening is part of CVN’s newest series, Trial Technique Spotlight, With Shane Read. 

Read is a nationally recognized expert and award-winning author who has helped thousands of lawyers transform their deposition, trial, and oral advocacy skills through in-house training programs, one-on-one coaching, and keynote speeches. And in each episode of Trial Technique Spotlight, he’ll use CVN courtroom video to detail the verdict-winning trial techniques the nation’s top attorneys use, and how to best use them in your own cases. 

Watch for future episodes of Trial Technique Spotlight throughout each month.

Related information:

Learn more about Shane Read and how he helps attorneys at

Watch Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., on demand. 

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Topics: Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, Trial Technique Spotlight