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6 Ways to Convey Size and Scale to a Jury

Ken Lopez
By: Ken Lopez

Energy Litigation, Litigation Graphics, Trial Presentation, Courtroom Presentations, Juries, Animation, Science, Environmental Litigation, Securities Litigation, White Collar, Medical Malpractice, Nuclear Power Plants, Information Design

 

All good trial exhibits have one thing in common: They are able to appeal to juries by referring to ideas, principles, objects, or locations that jurors already know about in their daily lives.

For example, a trial lawyer may need to show how large, or how small, something at issue in the litigation actually is. An effective way of doing this is to relate it to the size or scope of an object with which a juror has personal experience.


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We have prepared many exhibits that work in this manner. Not only do they give the jurors useful information but they also do this in a manner that jurors will easily recall when it comes time to deliberate. If we can present something as being “as large as a football field,” for example, we can lock that picture into the jurors’ minds.

1)  HOW FAST: In the below graphic that we used in a medical malpractice case, evidence showed that a radiologist rushed his work and missed cancer diagnoses. He read X-ray films three times as fast as an average radiologist. What did that mean? Jurors know that “speed kills,” and a very effective trial exhibit compared that speed to traveling three times the speed limit on a highway – 210 miles per hour instead of 70. That intrinsically seems reckless.

 

2)  HOW MUCH TIME:  In the graphic below, evidence proved that conspirators in a government contract dispute in New Orleans had spent 3,548 minutes on the phone. That number by itself would probably mean nothing to a jury. We translated that fact into a graphic that showed that in 3,548 minutes, someone could drive from New Orleans to Wasilla, Alaska (an election year reference). In that amount of time, a lot of conspiring could be accomplished.

how to show scale in demonstrative evidence 


3)  HOW LITTLE IMPACT:  In a securities case, we likened the plaintiff’s allegation that a single stock purchase affected the stock price of a company for 14 months to the notion that a single runner’s taking the lead in a marathon for eight minutes affected all 35,000 contestants in the three- to four-hour race. That defies common sense, and jurors could conclude that the allegation regarding the stock price also defied common sense.

showing scale in litigation graphics 

4)  HOW MANY:  In a Miami discovery dispute, we provided a graphic (below) of Pro Player Stadium (the then name of what is now the city’s Sun Life Stadium), with a seating capacity of 75,000. If that was the universe of all the documents at issue, the number that related to one client was a small portion of one section of the stadium, we showed.

Discovery dispute scale 

5)  HOW LITTLE:  In an environmental case, our exhibit (below) showed that the cleanup costs at issue, when compared with the company’s annual sales, were the proverbial “drop in a bucket.” That is far easier for a juror to remember than the numbers $20 million out of $4.4 billion.

Drop in the bucket BaldYarn! 

6)  HOW MUCH:  In this environmental insurance coverage litigation exhibit, the capacity of an underground tank farm is related to above ground pools.  It was a small amount of property and the capacity of the tanks was surprising when conveyed in this way.

UST Underground storage tank volume infographics

 
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jury demonstrative evidence 

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