Dirk Vandever will lecture and then actually select a jury based on the combined facts of four of his recent car wreck jury trials (three of which have generated transcripts for review). He will focus the initial lecture on how to: a. Excuse for cause those jurors whose beliefs obviously align with the defense; AND b. Introduce universally accepted safety principles and systems (“every case involves a systems failure”) we expect to be in place to prevent harm. After the live demonstration there will be a debriefing session going over what was covered in the first two sessions.
There are 5 pages of handouts (2 voir dire check lists dealing with the preparation to create your voir dire topic outline and the second dealing with the actual execution of the voir dire). There are 3 slides which are used in closing argument to bring back full circle the principles that were first brought up in voir dire. This emphasizes that voir dire is NOT a separate part of trial which is completed and then forgotten. It is instead the first (and most important) lawyer’s skill which will produce both principles (supporting the plaintiff’s verdict) and precautions (warning juries from falling into the trap of using improper “outside influences” in arriving at their verdict) used in every part of trial.
Combined Fact Pattern: The plaintiff was a young lady who was riding a motorcycle on a through street who hits and t-bones a van coming out of a side street. The defense suggested the motorcycle was speeding and/or driven improperly. The plaintiff’s primary injuries were a broken leg and pelvic organ prolapse (female organs prolapsing outward). The broken leg required a pinning surgery. The surgery was successful with no “residual” reported problems from the broken leg. Indeed the plaintiff was completing 6 mile hikes within 6 months of the wreck. Years before the wreck the plaintiff’s gynecologist had diagnosed “pelvic organ prolapse” as an “abnormal” finding on the well woman examination. Approximately 4 months after the wreck (with no comment on the pelvis before then) the plaintiff complained about an abnormal pelvic sensation which ultimately led to a referral. A gynecologic urologist did pelvic organ support surgery. In addition to hiking, the primary hobbies the plaintiff had were playing with kids, walking and horseback riding. After recuperation from the surgery for the leg and the pelvic organ prolapse, the plaintiff returned to horseback riding (now riding 2 hours a day rather than 6 hours a day that she had ridden before the wreck). 5 and 6 figure medical bills were waived with a request to the jury for “millions” for the human losses. As set out in the attached voir dire sheets, attention must be paid before voir dire to: