• October 10, 2018

Congratulations to lawyers Christopher Kuhlman and Joe Crosby for their $8.98 million dollar jury verdict in a medical malpractice case against Allina Health Systems on behalf of their client, Sirena Samuelson (and her son). (The verdict came late last month and the Star Tribune covered it here.)

The case arose out of problems in the delivery of Ms. Samuelson’s baby, who appears to have suffered life-long injuries related to shoulder dystocia during delivery.

From a review of the court file, it appears that this case was hard fought. The defendant’s “motion to exclude the reptile,” in particular, caught our eye. Presumably, personal injury litigators are familiar with this strange creature of a motion but most readers, probably not.

The motion is not about reptiles (the link is to another case unsuccessfully seeking to exclude the reptile). The ideas and advice in a 2009 book, REPTILE: The 2009 Manual of the Plaintiff’s Revolution, appear to strike such fear in defense lawyers that they bring motions to prevent lawyers from using the tactics described in the book. The book discusses plaintiffs’ lawyers’ appeals to the “reptilian” part of the jurors’ brains. The strategy is described in greater detail here.

How dare lawyers try to appeal to a jury’s sense of physical safety or safety of their community? How dare they be so deceitful, when trying a case that implicates physical safety and the safety of the community, to refer to physical safety and the safety of the community? Have they no shame?

With all due respect to the super successful authors of REPTILE (and the defense lawyers who seem to tremble before their insights, and to all plaintiffs’ lawyers who swear by them), maybe jurors in cases like this one are simply reacting to the evidence of a life-long disability that appears to have been caused by substandard medical care?



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