by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
For decades and in every part of the nation, mock jurors who are presented with various fact patterns and legal issues tend to have the same reactions. Some are helpful and others are harmful, depending on where you stand in the case. Knowing that these issues recur over and over can help to prevent those which are unfavorable to you:
1) Why did the plaintiff wait so long to sue?
While there may be good reason to delay filing suit, mock and actual jurors often use the delay between the alleged problem and the filing of a claim as a yardstick of its merit. The longer the gap, the less credible the claim. If counsel fails to address this issue, it tends to work against the plaintiff. It is especially damaging, for example, when someone claims an issue in the workplace, but waits until they are no longer employed. To many jurors, this signals that it was the termination, separation, or voluntary departure that was the issue, not the conduct, such as discrimination, that is the subject of the complaint.
2) That doesn’t make sense.
Lawyers don’t always put their case through the basic “smell test” or test of common sense from the…
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