Verdict - Spring 2018 - 30

"entitled to get some money" is also a negative

your peremptory strikes, but the added benefit of

The Know Your Limits frame can be introduced

defense frame designed to diminish the plaintiff

the questions is to introduce the case frames or

in voir dire with questions such as:

by casting her as a money-grubbing person with

principles to lead the jury down the proper path.

How many folks have ever worked at a place

an entitlement mentality.

Another important, perhaps most important,

where a co-worker did a task that was beyond

For a plaintiff to frame the jury during voir dire,

case frame is System Failure. Jurors will tend to

their training and expertise and caused someone to

the trial lawyer must first identify the emotional

forgive simple mistakes such as failing to look in

get hurt? Anyone ever heard the expression, "you

triggers in the case, what Mark Mandell calls

the right direction at the right time, or in a medi-

have to know your limits?" What does that mean

the "I just can't get over issues" in the case. For

cal malpractice case, nicking an organ with the

to you? Why is it important to know your limits?

example, a case may involve an on-call doctor

scalpel or over-tightening a screw. "Everyone

In a trucking case, where the defendant driver

who did not care enough about his patient to

makes mistakes," I've heard jurors say. But jurors

is accused of driving while fatigued, the Know

get out of bed and come in to see her in a timely

are far less forgiving if they perceive there are

Your Limits frame might revolve around knowing

manner. The frame is a medical professional

widespread system failures that endanger not

when to pull over and get some rest. Again, the

who puts his own interests above those of his

just the plaintiff, but every other patient as well.

Know Your Limits frame has universal applica-

patients, and may lead to the following voir dire

A system failure might be a hospital that does not

tion and will resonate with just about all potential

questions: How many folks have been to see a

have adequate policies and procedures to ensure

jurors.

doctor in the past year? Now the jury is thinking

proper hand-off communications during nursing

about their experience with a doctor and are

shift changes, so that critical information is not

moving into alignment with the plaintiff who also

passed along and the patient suffers harm.

FINAL THOUGHTS
As with most things in life, success at trial

went to the doctor. How many folks think that

During voir dire, you might want to introduce

is a function of the preparation that takes

the level of care you receive from doctors today

this frame of System Failure by asking the panel,

place long before you show up at the court-

has gotten better than the care you received

How many of you have ever played the game "tele-

house with bankers boxes. It is critically

from doctors 20 years ago? How many folks think

phone" as a kid, where you sit in a circle and try

important to do the hard work of identifying

the care has gotten worse? Stayed the same?

to whisper information to your neighbor that gets

the case frames for all phases of trial, liability

Not only are you learning valuable information

passed around the circle? How did those games

and damages. Focus groups are essential to

about the juror's personal experiences that will

end up? In a hospital, the medical professionals

this purpose because they provide the trial

trigger further inquiry, but also you are framing

pass along a lot of patient information from one

lawyer an opportunity to not only test pos-

the jury in a way that causes them to focus on

medical professional to another just like in the

sible case frames on "real people" who may

the defendant doctor and explore feelings that

telephone game. What are your thoughts about

approximate a jury, but also because focus

medical professionals do not care as much about

how medical professionals should ensure infor-

group members can offer frames that you

patients now in the age of managed care as they

mation gets passed along accurately and does

may have overlooked. Once you have iden-

did in the past.

not end up garbled and confused like when you

tified the critical case frames, you should

played telephone as kids?

carefully craft your questions for voir dire

One of the most powerful case frames is
Do Your Job. Whether the defendant is a truck

By these questions, you are framing the jury to

to introduce your frames and set your jury

driver, a safety manager, or a neurosurgeon, it is

a key issue in your case, System Failure, by con-

down the proper path ultimately leading to

a universal principle that everyone must do their

necting it with the shared, common experience

a just verdict for your client. ●

job. So when you have a defendant radiologist,

of the jury. Jurors now begin to wonder about

for example, that misreads a CT image and fails

and scrutinize the defendant hospital and wonder

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

to note a blood clot in the brain, the frame might

where the System Failure might have occurred

Lloyd Bell is an experienced medi-

be, "the doctor didn't do his job." During jury

that led to the plaintiff's injuries.

cal malpractice trial attorney who

selection, you want to begin framing the jury

Know Your Limits, is another powerful case

has been lead counsel in over 75

by introducing the Do Your Job frame through

frame that has application in all types of cases.

civil jury trials over his 25-year career. After

your questions.

In medical malpractice cases, it is increasingly

graduating with honors from the Virginia

In this case, you are going to hear evidence that

common to see family care physicians working

Military Institute, Mr. Bell attended Mercer

the doctor didn't do his job when he misread a CAT

as "hospitalists," the gatekeepers at hospitals

University Law School where he graduated in

Scan. How many of you have ever worked with

who admit patients from the emergency depart-

1992. Upon graduation, Mr. Bell began his legal

someone who did not do their job and someone

ment to the main floor. In my experience, these

career in U.S. Army JAG Corps, serving four year

was hurt as a result?

hospitalists often do not have the neurological

on active duty, first as a prosecutor and later as

How many folks work at a place where if they

training to recognize stroke signs and symptoms,

defense counsel where he represented soldiers

don't do their job, someone could get seriously

which can have disastrous consequences for the

accused of crimes.

injured?

patient. Know Your Limits can be an effective case

These questions are entirely appropriate under

frame to underscore the importance of calling

FOOTNOTES

Georgia law because they are designed to gather

for a specialist consult when the patient has a

1. Mark Mandell, Case Framing (Trial Guides, LLC 2015).

facts necessary for you to intelligently exercise

neurological condition consistent with stroke.

30

Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

2. Ibid.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Spring 2018

President’s Message
How I Obtained Justice: Sudden Emergency Doctrine
Thank You to Outgoing Verdict Chairman, Madeleine Simmons
Look Before You Leap: Conducting Jury Focus Groups Before Trial
Voir Dire In Low Speed, Soft Tissue Injury Cases
Defeating Reptile Theory Motions in Limine
Leading the Jury Down the Right Path: Framing Your Case During Voir Dire
Hernandez v. State: Empowering Jurors to Seek the Truth
Exploding Takata Airbags From Cover-Up To Accountability
Using Simple Technology to Pick a Better Jury
Case Updates: Who Really Loses When Medical Funding Becomes an Issue at Trial?
Professional Practice Pointers: Voir Dire, An interview with Cobb County State Court Judge Allison Barnes Salter
Dig In To Do Good: Making the World a Better Place
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Champion Members
Meet The Experts
Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Intro
Verdict - Spring 2018 - bellyband1
Verdict - Spring 2018 - bellyband2
Verdict - Spring 2018 - cover1
Verdict - Spring 2018 - cover2
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 3
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 4
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 5
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 6
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 7
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 8
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 9
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 10
Verdict - Spring 2018 - President’s Message
Verdict - Spring 2018 - How I Obtained Justice: Sudden Emergency Doctrine
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 13
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 14
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Thank You to Outgoing Verdict Chairman, Madeleine Simmons
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Look Before You Leap: Conducting Jury Focus Groups Before Trial
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 17
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 18
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 19
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 20
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Voir Dire In Low Speed, Soft Tissue Injury Cases
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 22
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 23
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 24
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 25
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Defeating Reptile Theory Motions in Limine
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 27
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 28
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Leading the Jury Down the Right Path: Framing Your Case During Voir Dire
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 30
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Hernandez v. State: Empowering Jurors to Seek the Truth
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 32
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 33
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Exploding Takata Airbags From Cover-Up To Accountability
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 35
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 36
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Using Simple Technology to Pick a Better Jury
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Case Updates: Who Really Loses When Medical Funding Becomes an Issue at Trial?
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 39
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Professional Practice Pointers: Voir Dire, An interview with Cobb County State Court Judge Allison Barnes Salter
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Dig In To Do Good: Making the World a Better Place
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 42
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Champion Members
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 44
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Meet The Experts
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Spring 2018 - cover3
Verdict - Spring 2018 - cover4
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