A recent discussion with a client about his client’s (an insurance adjuster) reluctance to engage us for mock jury research is stuck in my mind. The adjuster, whose multiple bosses overruled in authorizing the expenditure on the mock jury research, remained adamantly against it as he did not believe the defendant had an liability such that the case was a slam dunk. When overruled, he stated that the only good outcome of the mock jury research would be a defense win to prove him right. To me, that is the ultimate bad outcome. The point of a mock trial is to debug the case. Find the problems, test worst case outcomes and then learn what to do about them. He had it backwards, in my opinion. We’ve written about this in the past (https://magnusinsights.com/when-losing-is-winning-part-1/ & https://magnusinsights.com/when-losing-is-winning-part-2/), but it is worth briefly revisiting this topic. As it turned out, the mock jurors did not see the case as a slam dunk for the defendant. Despite some differences in their perspectives, the verdicts were substantial. I’m sure that the adjustor was pained to realize his perspective was incorrect. But it so much better to lose a mock trial than the real trial. Getting beaten up in the gym is the way boxers learn to beat their opponents. It is no different with mock juries although the pain isn’t physical.
I’m thrilled I don’t have to deal with reluctant, know it all, insurance adjusters too often. I would find it tiresome. In the recent case David mentioned, there were countless delays caused by the reluctant, know it all, adjuster that almost resulted in our not being able to help the end client, that is, the company that was being sued and was insured by the company employing the recalcitrant adjuster. When the attorney admitted, somewhat sheepishly, that the real reason the adjuster placed roadblocks to impede retaining Magnus was that he didn’t want to learn anything about the case contrary to his preconceived beliefs, I almost laughed out loud. Realizing the attorney was serious about the adjuster’s “steel trap” of a mind, instead of laughing, I remarked that I hoped, in the end, this person could learn something that he viewed was worthwhile. The fact that many people go through life believing what they want to believe and not wanting anyone to say or do anything that disproves them is a sad testament to human nature. Being closed minded, engaging in groupthink, and enjoying living one’s life under a proverbial rock is not a good way to live. It is far better to know what you don’t know, to learn from people and experiences, and to grow as a person.