See It Coming, Before It Bites You.
Don’t worry, it’s not a new horror movie, it’s just the attorneys in the courtroom practicing the Reptile theory of litigation. In 2009, David Ball, former theatrical director and jury consultant, and Don Keenan, a plaintiff’s attorney, published Reptile: The 2009 Manual of the Plaintiff’s Revolution. They posit that successful attorneys will unlock the primitive side of the juror’s brain with this method.
Neuroscientists named the part of the brain which controls basic life functions and essential survival instincts (fight or flight) the reptilian brain. By tapping into this reptile side of humans, attorneys want jurors to ignore logic and consider only their own safety. If scare tactics work and the juror finds fear in the defendant’s actions, they will be more likely to find for the plaintiff.
This line of questioning is not new, as it appeals to the jury to decide a case based on bias and emotion. The subtleties and complexities which have recently been explored (and named) are what is relatively new. Reptile theory is most often effective in product liability, transportation accidents, medical malpractice or environmental cases where the rule, guideline, or law is at issue. Plaintiff’s attorneys will appeal to jurors’ community standards or community conscience, trying to keep the community safe.
If your business is named in a civil litigation law suit, don’t spend your time reading The North American Field Guide to Reptiles, contact us to speak with an experienced civil litigation attorney who will use logic and reason for your defense. The best defense to the Reptile? See it coming before it bites you!