Are you involved in a lawsuit and facing the uncertainty of a trial? Are you looking for a way to avoid that uncertainty and reach an agreed outcome? If so, mediation may be the answer. Mediator and trial attorney Rick Morefield had a recent experience that demonstrates how the outcome of a trial depends as much on the jurors selected to decide the case as it does on the quality of the case or the skill of the lawyers.
ABOTA and ABA Offer Trial Academy for Less Experienced Lawyers: Lessons Learned from a Product Liability Case
In September 2022, the American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA) and the American Bar Association (ABA) Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section offered a one-week Trial Academy to provide training for less experienced trial lawyers. Mediator and trial lawyer Rick Morefield was one of the instructors and mentors. During the week, the students got to practice and receive training on jury selection, opening statements, direct examination, cross examination, and closing argument. At the end of the Trial Academy, the students conducted a full trial in front of a jury picked from the normal state court jury pool in Reno, Nevada.
This year’s trial was a product liability case involving a young boy who allegedly suffered a traumatic brain injury that was caused by a defective roller coaster. The Trial Academy had enough jurors available that it was able to have the entire jury pool observe the trial, but then it split the jury pool into two separate juries for deliberations. The two juries deliberated in separate rooms while the students and instructors watched the deliberations on a video feed. One group of jurors rendered a verdict for the plaintiff and awarded $5 million in damages. The other group of jurors rendered a verdict for the defendant. It is shocking that two juries who heard the same facts and arguments presented by the same lawyers at the same time reached such wildly different verdicts. Although this was an unexpected outcome, it was a valuable lesson for both the students and the instructors. The same thing can happen in a real trial. Regardless of the skill of the lawyers and the justice of the cause, trial lawyers and their clients are ultimately at the mercy of their jury.
The Importance of Mediation
This is why mediation is so important. A skilled mediator can help all parties see what could go wrong at trial and avoid the uncertainty of a jury verdict. Mediation allows the parties to bypass the uncertainty of trial and the unpredictable nature of juries. Mediation allows the parties to control the outcome of their case by reaching a settlement with the assistance of a skilled mediator.
Save Time, Money and Relationships
While mediation does not guarantee that an agreement will be reached, it does provide an excellent opportunity for parties to have honest discussions with a neutral mediator about the strengths and weaknesses of their case. This can save time, money and stress associated with trial. Mediation can also help to preserve relationships between people who will have to do business with each other in the future.
Avoid Lengthy Trials and High Legal Fees
Mediation gives parties the chance to find a resolution that works for both sides and that takes less time and money to achieve. By reaching an agreement through mediation, parties are able to minimize costly court fees, expert witness fees, attorneys fees, and the time associated with a lengthy trial and possibly an appeal.
MSB Law: Your Trusted Partner in Mediation
Mediation is a great alternative to trial for resolving legal disputes. MSB Law provides highly experienced Overland Park and Kansas City mediation lawyers for many different types of claims and disputes. Rick Morefield heads the firm’s mediation services practice and regularly serves as a mediator in Overland Park, Kansas City and throughout Kansas and Missouri.
If you need a mediator, call us at (913) 839-2808 to get on Rick’s schedule!