April 11, 2016 Articles

Swamp Things: Some Highlights and Lowlights of the Reptile Theory

The old axiom "litigation is preparation" has never been more true

By Theresa W. Parrish

The so-called reptile theory, with its underpinnings regarding the primitive brain and various fear factors, fundamentally shifts the emphasis in lawsuits away from sympathy for an individual or class-action plaintiff and toward anger and punishment for a wrongdoer in order to vindicate the safety or similar interests of the community of which trial jurors are members. In so doing, it encourages counsel to develop broad themes from the very beginning of a case and to use them effectively throughout depositions and trial.

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