One of the many ways BEHB attorneys share expertise with clients is by orchestrating mock trials. A recent example was a mock trial BEHB attorneys Jonathan Meislin, and Erin Poppler hosted at Skyline Scaffold in Sacramento for members of the construction industry to analyze the inner-workings of a product liability case.
In the fictional trial, a 33-year-old construction worker fell and perished while working from a mobile scaffold platform, leaving behind a wife and four-year-old twin daughters. The construction worker’s family sued two construction equipment contractors for wrongful death. Both contractors denied liability, settlement negotiations broke down, and the matter went to trial. Peterson represented the construction worker’s family, while Meislin and Poppler represented the two contractors.
At issue was who was to blame for the worker’s death. The family alleged the defendants were at fault due to a missing guardrail on the scaffold and failure to require the worker to tie-off to the platform. Both defendants claimed the worker was solely at fault because he walked off the platform. Each defendant also claimed the other defendant was at fault. As in a real trial, each attorney made opening statements and closing arguments. Through collaboration with the mock trial attendees, seven witnesses testified about the accident, and the widow testified that the loss of her husband had devastated her family.
Upon completion of the mock trial, audience members acted as a jury. During deliberations, the jury evaluated evidence and discussed the merits of the case. A wide range of opinions were aired, a fact that highlighted the importance of managing perceptions in a jury trial. Finally, the mock jury reached a verdict. Nearly one-third of the jurors found the construction worker had no fault in the accident. By contrast, one defendant was found to be 62% at fault and the other was 19% at fault.
At the conclusion, participants felt they had gained new insight into what happens when a product liability matter goes to trial. If you are interested in learning more about BEHB mock trials, please contact Jonathan Meislin or Erin Poppler.