|VIDEO| Why This Memorable Demonstrative Helped Win a $10.9M Verdict for a Pedestrian Injured in a California Crosswalk

Posted by Courtroom View Network on Oct 10, 2023 3:31:41 PM

Demonstratives can be crucial to helping jurors understand the gravity of the incident at the heart of a case. And in the latest episode of Trial Technique Spotlight, noted trial presentation expert Shane Read details how Steve Vartazarian’s use of a surprising demonstrative helped seal an eight-figure verdict for a pedestrian who was struck in a crosswalk. 

James Cobb suffered severe leg injuries when he was struck by a forklift driven by a Los Angeles County employee as Cobb walked through a crosswalk in 2015. During closings of the California trial, Cobb's attorney, Steve Vartazarian, of the Vartazarian Law Firm, reminded jurors of the accident's details, culminating with his display of an approximately life-sized photo of the forklift.

While he knelt in front of the forklift as if struck by the vehicle himself, Vartazarian detailed the fallout Cobb suffered from the collision. 

“You think he’s going to be the same?” Vartazarian asked, as he continued to kneel in front of the massive demonstrative. “No way.”

Read said the presentation was a memorable way to connect jurors with the incident. While Vartazarian could have simply shown a small photo or display of the forklift, it wouldn't have had the same force as the massive backdrop behind the kneeling Vartazarian, as he detailed the collision and its aftermath. 

“That is an image that will stay with the jurors,” Read said. 

And importantly, Read noted that it’s the combination of the life-sized image and Vartazarian’s narrative that make the presentation so compelling, For example, as Vartazarian kneels in front of the forklift, he asks jurors to imagine what Cobb must have been thinking in the moment just after the crash. 

“Then [Vartazarian] pauses, so it really sinks in with the jury. So the jury has time to imagine what the real forklift must have really done to [Cobb's] Achilles [tendon], his calf muscle, the nerves in his leg.”

That  demonstrative helped seal a nearly $10.9 million verdict against the County of Los Angeles. And Read’s analysis of this critical trial moment 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. 

Related information:

Learn more about Shane Read and how he helps attorneys at

Watch past episodes of Trial Technique Spotlight with Shane Read.

Watch the full trial, Cobb v. County of Los Angeles. 


Topics: Trial Technique Spotlight