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Visualizing Liability to Influence Judgments

by Geomatrix Productions in Legal Video

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Is it possible that a PowerPoint presentation can make the difference between winning or losing a case? There is scientific evidence to show that PowerPoint can help achieve the desired results.

According to formal studies conducted by Neil Feigenson of Quinnipiac University, and Jaiyhun Park of Baruch College[1], a well-designed PowerPoint presentation was shown to exert a measurable effect on jurors. Their studies showed that a plaintiff who uses PowerPoint to present statistical evidence caused a mock jury to find the defendant to have greater liability in the case.   Moreover, this approach works the other way around if the defendant uses a PowerPoint presentation to rebut the plaintiff.

According to Feigenson and Park, “In general, each party’s use of PowerPoint increased participants’ recall of that party’s evidence, which in turn increased defendant’s judged responsibility (when plaintiffs used PowerPoint) …”

From a scientific perspective, viewing statistical and numerical evidence rather than just hearing it described, has more influence on human perception/cognition. This psychological effect leads to a deeper understanding of the data and, consequently, makes it easier to recall the facts later. It has been found that viewing statistical evidence on a PowerPoint slide causes jurors, and others, to concentrate their attention with greater focus than listening to the same information verbally described.

The Extraordinary Power of Visual Evidence

A skilled personal injury lawyer looks at all evidence to understand every relatable detail that occurred before, during and after his client’s incident. The lawyer knows the client’s life story, visits the scene, and talks with eyewitnesses.   However, what about the mediator, the judge, the opposing attorney and, of course, the jury. What is the best way to show them the true story?

As proved in the Feigenson and Park study, individual jurors are impacted more by seeing evidence than by simply hearing it described to them. When it counts, jurors remember the visual evidence, and take that image into the jury room.

Geomatrix Productions PowerPoint Example in Trial

 

In a recent case in Connecticut, Geomatrix created a PowerPoint presentation for the co-defense attorney for his closing argument. The co-defendant (an insurance company) wanted to convince the jury to award a much lower dollar amount to the plaintiff than being requested by their attorney.

 

To address the co-defendant’s need, Geomatrix researched and created a PowerPoint presentation with the following components:

 

  • Bullet points for attorney to frame his argument and convey applicable laws
  • Photographic images of causation
  • Evidential documents that showed relevant facts
  • A timeline to display gaps in treatment or how the treatment lines up with the progression of the case
  • A specific suggested award amount

The result was an award in the exact amount (see points below) recommended by the co-defendant in his presentation. The plaintiff, who did not use PowerPoint, asked for an award greater than $100,000. The actual award was exactly as presented in the PowerPoint:

  • Economic damages = $7,607.54
  • Non-economic damages = $7,607.54

Was it the Message or the Messenger?

In the case above, there are two critical elements involved with the media presentation –

  • the PowerPoint tool itself
  • and the content within the presentation

As noted previously, the PowerPoint tool facilitated the visualization of evidence in such a way that the jurors could better understand the message and recall the facts during their deliberations. However, if the message were not ‘spot on’ with the salient facts, the PowerPoint presentation would not have been effective.

 

Of the two media elements, the tool and the content, content had more impact on decision-making than the tool. With that in mind, creation of ‘spot on’ content requires the most time and expertise.

 

With Geomatrix Productions – Show Your Client’s Story

To learn more about video technology, contact Geomatrix Productions. We lead the field in the design and execution of comprehensive digital trial presentations while continuing to provide premier legal video production services.

 

 

 

[1] Feigenson, Neal and Park, Jaihyun, Effect of a Visual Technology on Mock Juror Decision Making (August 11, 2012). Applied Cognitive Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2146089

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Think Outside the Box – Break an Impasse – Settle a case

by Geomatrix Productions in Geo Happenings, Legal Video

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Great lawyers are gifted in two areas:

  • their knowledge of the law
  • their ability to present and persuade

The rules of evidence dictate how a legal argument is presented in court. However, during pretrial, great lawyers realize they are not as restricted, and can creatively use their gift of persuasion to better represent their clients.

One Lawyer’s use of Video Documentation to Prove Causation and Liability

Recently, attorney Paul Iannaccone, listed in the 2017 edition of Best Lawyers in America, and Partner at RisCassi and Davis, was in a quandary preparing for mediation of a significant personal injury case. The defense had taken a hard stance of ‘no causation nor responsibility’ for the plaintiff’s injuries, pain and suffering.
Initially, Iannaconne reached out to Geomatrix to create a video that would demonstrate causation and damages only, but was concerned this would fall on deaf ears. During discussions with Edgar Smith from Geomatrix, Iannaconne quickly realized video could do much more.
According to Paul Iannaccone:

“What started out as a request to just document the impact of my client’s devastating injuries, became a well-organized and logical video, incorporating witness statements and expert testimony, legal citations and video laying out the entire case from the creation of the defect up through the causation and impact of her injuries on her life.  I soon realized that the Geomatrix video could lay out the entire case in under 20 minutes.”

Iannacone created a comprehensive settlement documentary that proved causation, liability, damages and cited critical legal precedents that would undermine the defense position were the case to go to trial.

News Flash: Control the Message Control the Outcome
 
Since the defendant was self-insured, Iannaccone’s strategy was to send a potent, comprehensive message directly to the defendant, essentially proving responsibility.

Iannaccone summed up the results of his video presentation.

“By sending a video directly to the true decision makers and check-writers, it became evident to them that they could not and would not win the case. Consequently, a favorable settlement was quickly received.”

Like many attorneys, Iannacone initially thought of video in terms of its value as demonstrative evidence. By thinking outside the box, he brought about a swift resolution of the case, avoided the cost and risk of trial and effectively advocated for his client.

Use Geomatrix Productions to Show Your Clients Story
To learn more about video technology, contact Geomatrix Productions (www. http://geomatrixproductions.com/). We lead the field in the design and execution of affordable, comprehensive settlement programs while continuing to provide premier legal video production and electronic trial presentation services.

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Geomatrix helps see through the eyes of others.

Feel the Pain, Win the Case

by Geomatrix Productions in Geo Happenings, Legal Video

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In the book, Experiencing Other Minds in the Courtroom, Neal Feigenson describes how the value of visual evidence is significantly impacted by who creates it, how it is made, and how it is presented. His ground-breaking research is of critical importance for personal injury lawyers today because the use of video is expanding exponentially in court cases.

Feel the Pain – See the Truth

Personal injury lawyers regularly face the challenge of helping a jury ‘feel the pain’ of their clients. This is not a new problem. Through the centuries, poets and writers spun fascinating tales to help their readers get a physical sense of someone else’s suffering.

In droves, lawyers are introducing photographic images as demonstrative evidence to help juries ‘see the truth.’  This effort began with hand-drawn pictures and now, with video technology, evolved to include augmented reality. With compelling video documentaries, lawyers introduce ‘day in the life’ videos as admissible evidence to help jurors or insurance companies – ‘feel their client’s pain.’

Simulating Reality

Feigenson cited a case handled by Attorney Michael Jainchill of the law firm RisCassi and Davis. The matter involved a young mother who suffered severe vision loss.

Jainchill was concerned for his plaintiff’s case because:

“Even though both sides concurred the plaintiff’s vision loss was ‘permanent’ and ‘profound,’ qualifying her as legally blind,” Jainchill said …

“And yet, by looking at her you couldn’t tell that she couldn’t see. She functions well enough to find her way around.”

Jainchill had an idea and reached out to Geomatrix Productions to simulate how his client’s world appears ‘through her eyes.’ Geomatrix used cutting-edge technology to create augmented reality video that let the stakeholders in the case have a realistic peek through his client’s eyes. Everyone who viewed the video had a vicarious authentic experience of the plaintiff’s real damages and the severe visual limitations she struggled with every day.

Revolutionizing the Court Room

A properly produced video can significantly improve an attorney’s success rate while increasing the size of a client’s settlement. Should you worry that you will encounter a rival lawyer using this new technology against you? The chances are good that you will see this powerful demonstrative tool shortly.

Per Nancy S Marker, Professor and Director of the Justice John Paul Steven Jury Center, in her review of Feigenson’s book:

“… trial lawyers need to understand the revolutionary technologies that will become widespread in twenty-first-century jury trials… video simulations enhance testimony so jurors experience the injuries that plaintiffs feel.”

Geomatrix Productions

To find out more about this technology, contact Geomatrix Productions. That would be an easy first step to see how video simulation will assist you and your clients, and let future jurors, not only to ‘see the truth’, but ‘feel your clients’ pain.’

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Geomatrix Productions 3D animation for litigation

This video helped beat the odds.

by Geomatrix Productions in Legal Video

In the unfortunate event of a vehicular accident where a pedestrian is killed, it’s unlikely to consider the potential for the deceased to be at any fault. Sadly, in the case of Wagmeister vs. Simmonds, this circumstance did occur. With a difficult case to both illustrate and prove, John Cirello, Esq. turned to Geomatrix Productions to aid him with this task.

Geomatrix Productions’ animator Tom Coben worked to create an accurate visual representation of what transpired the morning of June 28, 2013.

“Wanting to present his entire argument in the form of a video, John provided us with documents that were far too lengthy, complex, and cumbersome for the visual medium. We worked to create a video that presented the story in a visually concise way.” Tom Coben, Animator Geomatrix Productions

Cirello and Coben were able to prove it was a series of bad decisions on the part of both the driver of the disabled truck, and Mr. Wagmeister himself that ultimately led to his death. The video illustrates that had the correct precautions been taken, this sad course of events could have been avoided. Cirello’s use of the visual medium allowed for his total defense to be heard without disruption.

“The opposing attorney had a simple story to tell, but when you delve into the details it becomes clear there were liability issues. If I had attempted to tell the story in writing, people would stop reading. And, if I had attempted to tell the story verbally, I would have been interrupted. A video has the unique ability to draw people in, and allows you to have your entire story heard.” John Cirello, Esq. Cirello & Vesicchio LLC

Cirello, usually arguing for the plaintiff, found himself on the opposite side of the bench in this case. Regardless, he was adamant that the use of video is both economic and essential in proving a point.

“If you are dealing with a case worth over half a million dollars, you would be a fool not to make a video. When you are talking about those types of numbers, it will cost 1% of the overall settlement to produce a video. It makes no difference whether you are arguing for the side of the plaintiff or the defendant, and nothing tells a story better,” said Cirello.

The case of Wagmeister vs. Simmonds shows how video production can be used to accurately recreate events and communicate a comprehensive argument. The economic value complemented by the unique ability to capture and maintain one’s attention, represent the key benefits video production has to offer in a court of law.

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In today’s visual society, presenting evidence through digital video production has become essential.

Portraying Pain: How a five-minute video helped grant justice for Ismael Alvarado

by Geomatrix Productions in Geo Happenings, Legal Video

Ismael Alvarado’s leg had been pinned between the back end of the pickup truck and the large industrial trash compactor. He begged the driver to call 911, but she was so traumatized at the sight of the bones protruding from his shin that she collapsed in hysterics. Smearing blood across the surface of his cell phone, Ismael finally managed to contact emergency responders himself.

He was stabilized at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, but was later transferred to Yale-New Haven, where he underwent major surgery. Although the surgery was successful, Alvarado’s trials had just begun. Costly rehabilitation and diminished quality of life would test his character in the months and years to follow. To recoup these costs, he brought suit against his employer and the coworker who had caused the accident.

In the face of such costs, it would be easy to imagine Alvarado pursuing a risky trial jury in a quest to maximize compensation. But with the guidance of his attorney, Dale P. Faulkner of Faulkner and Graves, Alvarado summoned the foresight to settle. This equitable resolution was reached in part because Mr. Faulkner was able secure a generous $735,000 settlement for his client.
“One of the elements in the ability to reach a resolution was the very fine video which Geomatrix prepared after our client was released from the hospital,” Said Mr. Faulkner of the mediation process. Faulkner stressed the importance of giving the mediator a “first-hand” experience with Mr. Alvarado’s daily struggles, and credited the video with making that possible.

In most cases, Mr. Alvarado’s plight would have appeared on the judge’s desk as a written litany of complaints. But thanks to video, Mr. Faulkner was able to share a portrayal of Mr. Alvarado’s daily predicament with the mediator in a mere five minutes. “There is an inherent difficulty in positively demonstrating what a person is unable to do,” commented James Chianese, the Geomatrix editor assigned to the case. “This difficulty is compounded by the emotional willingness of that person to complain, as well as by their ability to convey their situation verbally. My role is to help create a more level playing field for those who are reluctant or unable to represent their daily struggle with the necessary legal clarity.”

Video opens the courtroom doors to a trove of new evidence because it makes visual statements that few plaintiffs could articulate verbally. Now, rather than listening to a litany of complaints that could easily be exaggerated, mediators can see for themselves the pain that a plaintiff endures. As we watch Mr. Alvarado gazing out his apartment window, we can understand what he means when he said he feels like a prisoner in his own home.
Video elicits empathy in a way that narrative cannot. It transports the viewer directly to the setting and allows them to draw their own conclusions about what’s going on. At Geomatrix, we are dedicated to represent our clients’ lives as faithfully as possible; we want to bring the injured’s hidden suffering into the light so that they are not punished unduly for their desire to carry the burden of their pain silently and alone.

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Answers to making the right choice when planning your litigation video.

Five Essential Legal Video Questions Answered

by Geomatrix Productions in Legal Video

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She has a story – choose the right video company to tell it.

Not everyone with a camera can produce a video that will stand up in court. Video
prepared for

litigation has the Rules of Evidence to consider. A firm that specializes in legal
video production will provide a level of service far different than the videographer
who takes on a “legal job” to fill in the time between weekend wedding gigs or “other
stuff.” A legal specialty company should ask you a number of probing questions
to help determine what you need, and most importantly, what it will cost.

The following will help you make the right choice as you plan your litigation video.

Is your video a deposition?

This means that someone (usually a court reporter) must be on hand to swear in the
witness and create the transcript. Today’s litigation videographers work closely
with court reporters to provide such services as real time transcription and CD
synchronization of the video and text.

Scheduling the video deposition should include planning for the videographer to
arrive about one hour earlier to be set up and ready when all parties arrive.

The videographer should assure you that there are simultaneous recordings in case
of technical failure, and that there is an archive system in place.

They should be able to see the job through, providing copies and the flexibility
to edit and play it back in court on YOUR schedule.

Is the video for use at trial or will it be used for settlement negotiations ?

This is a very important distinction when scheduling a video that is not a deposition.
Video prepared for trial must conform to the rules of evidence. However, video
designed for use in settlement negotiations can be created with persuasion in mind.

If it is a trial video, is it a Day in the Life documentary,
or is it demonstrative evidence ?

The Day in the Life documentary is a carefully prepared video of the condition of
the plaintiff at a given point in time. It is generally recorded in one day and
is well-crafted to both tell the story and meet the rules of evidence.

Demonstrative evidence may include, but is not limited to, a simple recording of
a therapy session, an actual or animated accident reconstruction, an interview,
a site survey and more.

If it is a settlement video,
will it cover liability as well as damages?

Successful settlement videos can be designed to tell the entire story of the case
or they may be limited to a compelling re-telling of the damages suffered. If liability
is included, the resulting video is more comprehensive, often requiring a narrative
to be drafted by the attorney and then turned into script format by the production
company.

Be prepared to discuss resource material with the video producer. Evidence such
as 911 recordings, accident photos and family photos provide a creative producer
with a wealth of material to prepare a comprehensive and effective program. If
3D animation is considered or recommended, provide police diagrams and reports; connect the motion
graphics artist with the engineer.

Are you comfortable with how you are treated as a prospective client?

Some video companies have a casual approach to business and their clients. If your
calls are not returned within 24 hours, your emails are lost and the above questions
are not addressed, we suggest you continue searching.

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At Geomatrix, we make the video production process simple, with a laser focus on
your goals and objectives. For over 35 years, we have approached each case as unique,
understanding key messaging and nuances, while applying tried and true techniques.

Call us about your next case. We’d love to brainstorm with you.

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In today’s visual society, presenting evidence through digital video production has become essential.

How Do I Prepare for an Electronic Trial?

by Geomatrix Productions in Legal Video

Electronic evidence lets everyone in the courtroom see exhibits simultaneously. Evidence comes to life as key information is presented through our legal video services. In today’s visual society, presenting evidence through digital video production has become essential.

  1. Contact your trial technician early.

In a simple one hour meeting we can form a presentation plan to fit your video production needs for your case.

  1. Prepare video depositions

We understand that you can’t always get the judge to rule on evidence & testimony beforehand. Editing video depositions can be done during a trial, but in order to have that ability, we need time to synchronize the video to the transcript.

  1. Pre-mark your exhibits.

If exhibits are pre-marked, then the electronic document can be named by the exhibit number. This allows for very easy communication with your trial tech.

  1. Bates Stamps are a good alternative to pre-marking.

Bates stamping allows for every page of every record to have an individual name. They are especially helpful with records with hundreds of pages.

  1. Use the original digital files for photos.

A scan of a printed photo will never look as good as the original file. Many digital photos have such high quality that you can zoom pretty far in without losing any detail.

  1. Don’t change your routine.

The only change in conducting an electronic trial is that when you are speaking about an exhibit everyone will be looking at it.

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In today’s visual society, presenting evidence through digital video production has become essential.

How Do I Schedule a Video Deposition?

by Geomatrix Productions in Legal Video

Savvy litigators are using video depositions as a powerful discovery tool.  At trial, jurors rely heavily on nonverbal communication like eye contact and body language to judge the veracity of a witness, making video testimony invaluable.

 

A video deposition is like any deposition.  A court reporter is normally present to swear in the witness and take the stenographic record.  A simultaneous digital video record is taken with the time and date display in the lower portion of the screen.  As a precaution, we record redundant systems in the case of equipment failure.

 

Setting up a video deposition is as simple as picking up the phone and calling Geomatrix anytime between 8 and 5 Monday thru Friday.  You can also fax or email your notice so we get all the details needed.

 

It’s best if you can give us several days’ notice in advance of a deposition, but we are happy to accommodate the frequent “emergency” situation.  We are also well-accustomed to cancellations!

 

We always confirm the video services with a phone call on the day before the recording as well as on the scheduled day.  One of our videographers goes to the location, one hour in advance, so we are ready to begin when you, the deponent and other counsel arrive.

 

At the conclusion of the deposition, we take any copy orders from counsel, who are required by statute to pay for their own copies.

 

The original recording is returned to Geomatrix for processing, and is released to the noticing attorney on receipt of payment.

 

We strongly suggest you synchronize your video to the text, but that is discussed in our blog, “Five Reasons to Sync Your Video Deposition.”

 

Recap:

 

  1. Pick up the phone and dial (203)389-0001. The Geomatrix Productions office is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

  1. Email a copy of your Notice of Deposition to: claire@geomatrixproductions.com or infor@geomatrixproductions.com

 

3.  Fax your Notice of Deposition to:  203-387-8558

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In today’s visual society, presenting evidence through digital video production has become essential.

How Do I Edit a Video Deposition for Trial?

by Geomatrix Productions in Legal Video

When playing a video deposition in court before a jury, attorneys are faced with the questions of how to edit the objections.

 

Advance ruling the judge and video editing provides for the most seamless presentation to the jury.  That said, there are 3 ways the editing can be done.

 

  1. Electronic Editing Done in Advance.

You provide our office with a marked transcript for redactions and our video production technician removes the objections prior to the date of the playback.  This allows for the least amount of interruptions in the proceedings and not “down time” during the playback.  Estimate that it will take approximately two times the length of the deposition for the actual work to be completed.  Please note that once the video editing is done, it is nearly impossible to make additional edits live during trial.

 

  1. Synchronize the Video Deposition to the Transcript Electronically.

We can create a DVD which marries the video with the transcript, making keywords and page/line numbers searchable.  This allows us to make the edits more quickly, but also changes the way it is played back in court.  However, the advantage to this method is that it allows for last minute changes to be made in court, with minimal interruption to the proceedings.

 

  1. Low Tech in Court Video Editing.

With this method, our technician can perform the edits from a marked transcript – during the court session, by muting the sound to the courtroom and fast-forwarding the video beyond the objectionable material.  However, this creates considerable down time and may be quite distasting if there are many objections to redact.  In addition, the jury becomes very aware of the video editing process.

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In today’s visual society, presenting evidence through digital video production has become essential.

How Do I Work With a Trial Technician?

by Geomatrix Productions in Legal Video

Learning how to utilize electronic evidence such as video depositions at trial is much easier than you might expect. Directing your trial tech to an exhibit is not any harder than directing your witness to one.  The difference is that everyone in the room will be able to see it, which will make questioning a witness about it much easier.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Learn the lingo. Asking for an exhibit is as easy as directing a witness to look at it, simply refer to it by name and page number.
  2. Focus everyone on specific parts of the records. If you need to enlarge a portion of a record, ask your tech to “call it out” or “blow it up.” If you want to further focus a witness and/or jury on a specific word or phrase, ask your tech to “highlight” it. The tech will change the color, just as easily as if using a traditional yellow highlighter—and you get to choose the color!
  3. Get comfortable with the laser. Laser pointers are a great way of getting everyone in the room to focus exactly where you want them. You can direct your trial tech to call out a key phrase or image, then ask the witness to explain.

In no time you will wonder why you have not done it sooner!

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270 Amity Rd #222 Woodbridge, CT 06525
(203) 389­0001