Archive | Jury Behavior

Commercial Litigation: Benefits of a Trial Consultant, Part 2

This is part 2 of the benefits of a jury or trial consultant in commercial litigation. As noted in the prior post, in commercial litigation, high powered people are often involved. We have been involved in many cases in which these parties were “out for blood.” Even though the cases were “only about money,” the […]

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Magnus has worked on numerous commercial cases in which things between or among the parties became personal.  Some people wrongly believe that, because commercial cases are mostly about money (as opposed to compensating someone for an injury), they are boring and impersonal.  This belief is a misconception because, although commercial cases involve a plaintiff suing […]

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If You Don’t Have a Ph.D In Psychology Don’t Presume to Understand Human Nature

I have written about the phenomenon of people who have no education, training, or expertise in psychology who think they know as much about human behavior as I, a psychologist, know. I am frequently asked for my opinion about someone or something, only to be told, “Well, I don’t have a degree in psychology, but […]

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Knowing what you don’t know or knowing that you don’t know are important skills for getting through a career, or life.  An economics professor once pointed this out to me when I remarked that I felt, despite having earned highest grade on a test in his class, there was so much I didn’t know about […]

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Commercial Litigation: Benefits of a Trial Consultant, Part 1

I had a conversation with a friend/client recently. He previously hired us in a personal injury case, but now works in a firm that does mostly commercial litigation. The question arose about what we, at Magnus, do in commercial cases. I explained that a high percentage of our cases are commercial cases. Sometimes, clients or […]

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I have worked with many witnesses during my career.  As with many things in life, my first experience is memorable.  The case was a high profile case in my hometown and the key witness was the owner of a well known and well respected corporation.  Both the corporation and its owner were defendants in the […]

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COVID-19 Jury Composition Conjecture

As trial consultants we try to stay current by reading lots of newspapers, journals, and magazines. Recently, I’ve noticed people writing about the composition of juries post COVID-19 (not that COVID-19 is over, “post” in this context merely indicates a world where COVID-19 came into being). Because of the politicization of COVID-19, vaccines, masks, etc., […]

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I guess speculating about the composition of juries gives people something to discuss.  And, at least it’s better, in my opinion, than listening to people drone on about their experiences as jurors.  (The latter discussions, when I am unwittingly involved, remind me of “One time, in band camp…” and are just as uninteresting!) I don’t […]

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What’s Your Alibi?

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 16, 2021

Category: Jury Behavior, Litigation Research, Litigation Tips, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Psychology, Trial Consulting

Do you have an alibi? Do you need an alibi? We’ve all seen it on TV. If you are innocent, you have an alibi. If you don’t have an alibi, you are suspect #1. What were you doing on the evening in question? Do you remember? Probably not. In life one goes from hour to […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 16, 2021

Category: Jury Behavior, Litigation Research, Litigation Tips, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Psychology, Trial Consulting

I am thrilled that David not only read an article from one of the psychology publications to which I subscribe, but enjoyed it to the point it inspired this post!  It’s wonderful to me to share psychology with someone who appreciates the unique perspective it offers!  As for alibis, the media have done another disservice […]

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It’s a Big Job!

Melissa and I have mentioned we are undergoing a big home improvement project this year. It is not one we wanted to undertake: a new roof! We first heard “It’s a big job” when securing bids for the roof project. “It’s a big roof, it’s a big job….” Well, yes it is. Isn’t that great? […]

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I’m proud to say that, in almost 30 years of owning and operating Magnus, David and I have never had a job that was too big to accept.  When prospective clients ask me if I have ever worked on a “big” case, implying that I might not have the expertise to work on their case, […]

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Brave New World

Recent conversations with several attorneys prompted this post. The title many will recognize is from a 1931 book by English author Aldous Huxley, and I have to say, I’ve never read it. But, here we are in the 3rd quarter of 2021 and I have to say that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other […]

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As David and I have written before, there are some people (like us) who thrive on change and there are others who prefer the status quo and/or wish things were “like they used to be.”  The latter types of people are, for the most part, boring to me.  Change is part of human existence and, […]

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Quantifying Change

It is an exciting time to be a data nerd – the 2020 Census data are trickling out. And, apologies to Bob Dylan, with the times, the data are a-changing! The key data points released thus far confirm the growing diversity of America. I’ve been looking at some of the numbers for Florida, with a […]

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I’m thrilled that David decided to write about this topic!  I am the embodiment of the definition of “science nerd” and “data nerd.”  I love both science and the data obtained from research more than almost anything.  (The recent refusal of some people to believe in science, particularly medical science, is mind numbing to me, […]

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Leadership styles

Many people wonder how leaders emerge. Some people endorse the view that certain people are “born leaders,” while others believe leadership is a skill that is acquired. Organizational psychologists have studied leaders, leadership, and leadership styles for decades to determine what traits separate effective leaders from leaders who lack effectiveness, the situations in which leadership […]

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I often learn new things in reading what Melissa has written.  As someone whose graduate work was in the Organizational Behavior field (the business school version of I/O psychology), leadership is a familiar topic.  But, considering her perspective on how leadership plays out in the jury decision making process is enlightening.  Melissa is the expert […]

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Heuristical thinking

Biases and heuristics often, but not always, go hand in hand. While bias is attributed to the absence of reflective thought, leading to limitations in judgment, heuristics are used intentionally when making inferences. Heuristics are common sense reasoning strategies employed by laypersons. They are “shortcuts” that accelerate the decision making process. Heuristics may or may […]

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Magnus’ reports often contain a section entitled “Heuristics” and, when I’m showing our sample report to prospective clients, I usually have to explain what a heuristic is and why it is important.  I typically explain that heuristics are the ways that the jurors relate to a case – in their own language.  Whether it is […]

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