The Litigation Psychology Podcast

The Litigation Psychology Podcast presented by Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI) is for in-house and outside defense counsel about the intersection of science and litigation. We explore topics of interest to the defense bar, with a particular emphasis on subjects that don‘t get enough attention. Our hosts are Ph.D.-level Social Scientists, Clinical Scientists, and Psychology Experts with a wealth of knowledge about science, research, human behavior, and decision making, which they apply in the context of civil litigation.

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6 days ago

Trial Attorney Cody Gomora from The Wolf Law Firm, P.C. joins Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. to discuss how younger attorneys can navigate their role as civil litigation defense attorneys. Cody shares how his experience in the district attorney's office and trying criminal cases gave him invaluable courtroom experience that he now applies in his civil litigation defense work. Bill and Cody also discuss generational differences between attorneys, between attorneys and jurors, and talk about the impact and influence of social media in litigation. Lastly, Bill and Cody discuss the importance of mentorship for younger attorneys. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Feb 12, 2024

Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. talks about the role and impact of expert witnesses in medical malpractice litigation. Bill shares that typically expert witness testimony doesn't get you very far in med mal cases in terms of juror decision-making. This is due to the fact that the expert witness is unable to directly evaluate the patient unlike expert witnesses who can, for example, evaluate defective parts in a product liability case. Expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases can help with case evaluation and help with preparing the case, but their testimony does not influence juror decision-making. One area where an expert witness can make an impact is with the visual presentation of the case and their ability to teach. The most important influence over juror decision-making will be the testimony and performance of the fact witnesses in your case.

Monday Feb 05, 2024

Steve Wood, Ph.D. & Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. commemorate the 200th episode of The Litigation Psychology Podcast and discuss the misunderstanding many have about the correlation between juror anger and outsized verdicts. Steve and Bill share the scientific data that Courtroom Sciences has collected and analyzed to understand the role that juror anger does or does not play in nuclear verdicts. Steve and Bill explain the process of collecting the data and how the results show that although juror anger is a factor in large damage awards, it is a small percentage when compared to other factors. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Jan 29, 2024

In the first part of a series of episodes about medical malpractice litigation, Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. talks about nurses sitting for deposition, in particular, the LPN, and the importance of the initial meeting and communication with these nurses. These lower-level nurses often struggle at deposition due to their nervousness about the process, fear of the ramifications, potential blame issues, etc. It's critical to meet with these nurses as soon as possible, checking in with them, seeing how they are doing, and demonstrating that you care about them as a person. Bill discusses how crucial the initial assessment of their mental, physical, and emotional state is before any prep for the deposition starts. Also, it is important to ask them difficult questions about their job, including whether there have been issues at work previously, whether they blame anyone else for the incident at the heart of the case, and their specifics memories of what took place. Lastly, Bill talks about getting their commitment to work with you to prepare for their deposition. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Jan 22, 2024

Steve Wood, Ph.D. is joined by Sean Murphy, Practice Leader of CSI Critical Communications & Brent Turman, Partner with Bell Nunnally to talk about social media in the courtroom. Sean begins by talking about cameras in the courtroom and gives the example of the narrative around Donald Trump's upcoming trials and his team's request for allowing cameras in the courtroom. Brent shares how important public opinion can be in some trials and how that may influence the wording in different motions that the trial teams may file, even if that language may not be legally necessary but instead may be influential for the narrative in the traditional media and social media. The group offer their perspectives on the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial and how their legal teams did and did not leverage social media to influence the court of public opinion, as well as, how documentaries about different trials have an impact on the reputation of the litigants involved. Lastly, Steve, Sean, and Brent discuss other social media and public perception considerations that should be factored in when managing litigation. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Jan 15, 2024

Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. is joined by Brendan Dawson, Founder of Accident Plan, to talk about how the Accident Plan software helps guide truck drivers to manage and secure an accident scene when an incident occurs and capture the critical data to be shared with others offsite. Brendan shares how the training for truck drivers using Accident Plan allows them to be more prepared and follow a process and checklist when dealing with an accident. Bill and Brendan talk about the return on investment on being proactive and getting stakeholders informed quickly and early so that claims can be handled effectively and at the lowest possible cost in terms of money and time. Brendan also discusses the work he does in private investigation for both the defense and plaintiff side. Brendan offers his advice to defendants to investigate yourself; to know your own weaknesses and shortcomings before opposing counsel does it for you. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Jan 08, 2024

Steve Wood, Ph.D. & Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. kick off 2024 with another episode answering podcast listener mail. Questions addressed:
-  How can I deal with anchoring by plaintiff's counsel?-  Is it okay if my witness wears a nose ring to her video deposition?-  How can I deal with an ex-employee who is not willing to cooperate in their deposition prep?-  Does it sound bad for a witness to respond to a question with "I don't know"?-  Is it better for a female attorney to cross-examine an adverse female witness?-  Should I use the Reptile book during my closing argument to help jurors recognize what the Reptile attorney is doing?-  What are things that the defense team can do that really bother the plaintiff's team?

Monday Dec 18, 2023

Steve Wood, Ph.D. & Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. talk about the impacts of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) on witnesses in litigation. PTSD can occur in several different types of litigation and isn't exclusively just in cases involving vehicle accidents or bad medical outcomes. Steve and Bill provide a checklist for defense attorneys on what to look for when working with witnesses to identify potential PTSD issues that may require additional time, assessment, or even treatment. 
Some signs to look for and/or questions to ask: - intrusive memories and thoughts; - negative changes in thinking and mood; - ask about their relationships and their support network; - assess their reactions and attitude; - how's your sleep quality?; - are you self-medicating/drinking?; - are you experiencing or dealing with physical pain?
Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Dec 11, 2023

Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. talks about how to manage the teaching moment during trial testimony. When your expert witness or defendant is put on the stand with the goal of teaching the jurors something, your witness must meet the jury where they are. It's important to remember the concept of juror cognitive lag, which is that jurors will lag behind in their cognition and your witness has to understand that the jurors are not going to be able to follow along easily. So, the witness has to make adjustments to their teaching methodology and you and your witness have to practice the teaching process, perhaps up to 5-10 times. 
Common mistakes that are made during the teaching moment of trial: 
- Going too fast - have to remember that the jury can't ask questions or ask the witness to slow down. - Visuals are not juror friendly - exhibits and demonstratives need to be easy for jurors to understand and follow; it's important to test the visuals before using them at trial. - Talking above the juror's heads - have to define any terms that the witness is using that might be uncommon or unfamiliar to the jurors and use examples or analogies to help the jurors understand the concept the witness is trying to teach or explain.

Monday Dec 04, 2023

Bryan Aghakhani, Partner, Bordin Semmer joins Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. to talk about the attorney perspective on the deposition. Bryan states that cases are won or lost at deposition and that the preparation before deposition, and being actively engaged at deposition with objections, is key for defense attorneys when defending depositions. Bryan and Bill discuss the difference in preparing a fact witness and a corporate representative 30(b)(6) for deposition and also talk about the strategy and approach for taking a plaintiff's deposition. Bryan shares his thoughts on taking the deposition of the plaintiff's expert and the philosophy around hiring an expert for the defense. Watch the video of this episode:

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