Introducing your clients in a way that develops a powerful connection between them and the jury is a cornerstone to building a winning case at trial. And in the latest episode of Trial Technique Spotlight, Shane Read, one of the nation’s leading trial presentation experts, highlights the creative demonstrative Rachel Lanier used to ensure jurors remembered a plaintiff, en route to winning a major product liability verdict.
Lanier, of The Lanier Law Firm, represented 22 plaintiffs who claimed that exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products caused ovarian cancer. In such multi-plaintiff cases, it’s even more important to ensure that each individual stands out. And on direct exam of Carole Williams, one of the plaintiffs in the case, Lanier themed the roadmap of Williams’ story to one of Williams’ favorite hobbies, baking.
The roadmap-diagram of Williams’ story was structured like a cake. But beyond that, Lanier and counsel Mark Lanier brought out a cake Williams baked for another plaintiff to commemorate a wedding anniversary the other plaintiff was celebrating with her husband.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Read said in analyzing the memorable moment. “It’s that kind of demonstrative exhibit that the jury will always remember. They will remember Carole Williams as the cake lady.”
Lanier highlighted the fact that Williams made the cake for another plaintiff, serving to tie the plaintiffs together in the eyes of the jury as a group that cared about one another. Williams’ cake decoration also denoted just how long the couple had been married, emphasizing the bonds threatened by the disease central to the case.
In all, it ensured jurors would remember the moment when they deliberated.
“Rachel made this witness come to life,” Read said.
The Missouri jury ultimately handed down a $4.69 billion total verdict in the trial. And Read’s analysis of this memorable demonstrative is the latest in CVN’s ongoing 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 uses CVN’s trial video to detail the techniques the nation’s top attorneys use, and how to best use them in your own cases.
Learn more about Shane Read and how he helps attorneys at ShaneRead.com.
Watch the full trial, Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson.