“What’s the next case going to be?”

Glass laminates, carpet glue, yacht paint, windshield wiper technology, medical negligence, accounting malpractice, legal malpractice, burns, brain damaged babies, dog bites, hurricane damage – to coffee, hurricane building damage, construction defects, government taking of land (eminent domain), murder, rape, cruise ship based crimes, cruise ship excursions gone wrong, toxic chemicals, environmental damage, celebrities accused of acting badly, sick buildings, automobile vs. automobiles or trucks, motorcycles vs. cars or trucks, hearing loss, fires, nursing home deaths, artificial insemination gone wrong, stock broker misconduct, and medical experimentation. What these all have in common is that they are a sample of the types of cases Magnus has handled. Cases of the above types, and more, have been sliced, diced, analyzed and strategized using focus groups, mock trials, attitude surveys, mock arbitrations, mock bench trials, mock mediations, and other services customed designed to fit the issues, claims, facts and parameters of the cases. I was thinking about this recently when I was contemplating some of the unusual types of claims on which we have consulted. It is rare for a trial consultant to be hired on a “run of the mill” case, civil or criminal. As a result, I know that the eclectic list of case types is skewed by this reality. Trial consultants get hired to work on the outliers in terms of liability, damages, or uniqueness. But, those unique cases, sometimes involving mundane aspects of life and commerce, have given us a tremendous education on how things work, or don’t work. I have to say I have learned about things I never knew existed, or never considered. Who, besides anyone in the business, thinks about how glass pieces are glued together or how carpet adheres to high traffic floors? Who wants to think about the horrible injuries that happen on the highways or in hospitals? Criminal acts as bad as, or worse than, on television expose us to parts of society that we would otherwise never experience. And, all these experiences result in expertise and an interest in working on something “we have never heard of before.” As horrible and complex as many of these matters have been, the intellectual challenges are stimulating!

As the old saying goes, “been there, done that.” There are probably some types of lawsuits on which I have not consulted, but right now, I can’t think of one! A potential client asked me recently if I’d ever worked on: (1) a big case; (2) a professional malpractice case; or (3) a securities case. I explained that, as for professional malpractice cases, such as accounting, legal, and medical, I have worked on almost too many to count. Regarding securities cases, I have been working on them since 1989, and as with professional malpractice cases, my experience in securities is vast. And big cases? I explained, with a smile, that all of the cases on which I have ever worked are big cases, but the biggest one, in terms of dollars, was $110 billion! Given that this attorney’s case is valued at a mere fraction of $100 billion, I think I can handle it, just fine, thank you very much! In all seriousness, the things I know about people and their problems would make the average person’s brain explode. I once had to learn how to fly an airplane (in a flight simulator) in order to understand how a horrific crash happened. I have made small talk with people who were on trial for cases in which the death penalty was the ultimate punishment. I have read millions of pages of legal documents, some containing the innermost secrets about people’s lives. I have had more experiences in many aspects of life than most people will ever have in their lifetime. For me, the challenge is not whether I can comprehend the next complex case on which I am retained, but being able to live my life, free of worries, given everything I know about the negative situations in which people find themselves.

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