The Trial Lawyer Summer 2018 - Page 64

6 . Expanding the Short-Trial Program
In my home state of Nevada , the short-trial program has proved to be quite effective in disposing of smaller cases in an efficient and more cost-effective manner . Short trials limit the trial time typically to one day and allocate specific time parameters to each party to present their case . This forces the parties to be more efficient by thinking carefully about how to allocate their limited time most effectively . Consideration should be given to expanding this program to include short trials with three- and five-day limitations . That would capture more cases that parties are not willing or able to try in one day , but would be able or willing to try with three-day or five-day time limitations .
I would argue that the number of jurors in the three- and five-day short trials should be increased to at least six , if not eight . Every study done on this issue shows that the larger the jury ( up to 12 ), the better the decisions . Of course , limiting discovery and the use of experts must be part of this program in order to reverse the decline of civil jury trials . Understand , however , there are cases that are just not appropriate for the short-trial program . The higher the case value , the less likely you should enter into a short-trial as a jury may equate less time addressing the case with a lower verdict .
7 . Utilizing Justice Court
During the 2015 session , Nevada ’ s state legislature increased the jurisdictional limit of justice court to $ 15,000 . Nevada ’ s mandatory arbitration program does not apply to cases filed in justice court . Therefore , a case with a value of $ 15,000 or less can be tried in justice court without going through arbitration and then filing a trial de novo , which is required by the rules governing district court . Further , the award of costs and attorney fees for the prevailing party from a civil jury trial are mandatory in justice court . While , as I delineated above , I do not favor loser-pay sanctions , they do apply in justice court cases giving plaintiffs an incentive to file in justice court .
8 . Collaboration and Specialization
Although this sounds like self-promotion , I truly believe there is no better way to practice than to collaborate with those you believe to be the best specialized trial lawyers in your jurisdiction . Not only will this give you the backing you need when negotiating your case , but it also gives you the resources and experience of those with whom you associated .
Eglet Prince is built on the concepts of specialization and collaboration . We limit our practice to personal injury , product defect , wrongful death , and insurance bad faith so that we can be the most experienced in those areas . We collaborate with other law firms in the handling of significant injury cases . In some instances , our collaboration is a result of a Goliath-type defense mounted by the other side . More often it results from lawyers seeking us out that want an extra advantage . We are a trial firm that handles complex cases that most other personal injury firms do not have the resources , time or experience to prepare for or try . Collaborating allows the full value of the case to be obtained for the clients . Over 90 percent of Eglet Prince cases are referred to us from solo lawyers and law firms , both locally and from around the world , who ultimately receive a greater net fee by bringing us into the case . We also have collaboration agreements with law firms who we refer smaller less complex cases , and mentor and assist them when necessary in their trials or trial preparation .
There exists an opportunity for young energetic lawyers or law firms to create collaborative agreements with law firms who cannot or will not employ the resources necessary to try these small and mid level cases before juries . In my opinion , it is the only way insurance companies will begin settling these smaller and mid level cases for their actual value . If we work as a team in our legal community , the value of our clients ’ cases will be reflected in the offers the insurance companies eventually make .
9 . Eradicating the Disease of Tort Reform
How many times will we hear the insurance industry “ cry wolf ” until the truth is revealed to the American public ? The cries are always the same :
“ Americans are lawsuit happy .” “ Frivolous lawsuits are clogging our courts .”
“ Juries can ’ t be trusted because they routinely return outrageous verdicts that far outweigh the actual damages .”
“ Medical malpractice lawsuits drive up healthcare costs for everyone .”
“ Malpractice lawsuits are forcing doctors out of practice or to leave our state for states with damages caps .”
“ Malpractice lawsuits drive up a doctor ’ s malpractice insurance rates , and caps will lower their rates .”’
All of these myths are propaganda invented by big business and the insurance industry , both of which want to scare Americans into relinquishing their 7 th Amendment liberty .
The infamous McDonald ’ s hot coffee case is the first example that proponents of tort reform love to cite .
“ The lady goes through a fast food restaurant , puts coffee in her lap , burns her legs , and sues and gets a big settlement . That in of itself is enough to tell you why we need to have tort reform ,” quoting former U . S . Congressman , Republican presidential candidate and present Governor of Ohio , John Kasich , while he was a member of Congress .