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In Preparing Difficult Witnesses for Trial — Part 1, we looked at the four major types of trial witnesses. We also sketched “some of the more significant ethical considerations that govern your dealings with each category”. We then took “a short and non-exhaustive look at the two major privileges that trial lawyers deal with: the lawyer-client privilege and the lawyer work-product doctrine.”

In this post, we’ll cover the necessity for getting really ready and something you may find surprising — the importance of caring.
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For your client to win at trial, the trial lawyer in you must tell a human story, one that moves jurors to decide in your client’s favor. Flesh-and-blood witnesses fill essential roles in the drama. So-so ones will turn the story to mush, and bad ones will allow your friend on the other side to beat you and your client about the head and neck with it. Difficult witnesses – DWs – therefore pose a risk you must use all your talents and powers to manage.

How can you prepare DWs for their potentially pivotal turn on the courtroom stage? In this series of posts, I offer thoughts from 33 years of trying cases.
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U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg ruled on August 28, 2017 that a class of 24 to 25 direct purchasers did not satisfy the “numerosity” requirement of Rule 23(a)(1) for class certification. Florence Drug Co. of Florence, Inc. v. Cephalon, Inc., No. 06-c-1797, ECF 1072 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 28, 2017), on remand from In

Pay-for-delay

Listen up, direct purchasers of pharmaceuticals.

Since 2013, pay-for-delay antitrust cases against Big Pharma could succeed if they alleged that a brand-name drug company had made “large and unjustified” payments for a competitor to postpone bringing a generic substitute to market. FTC v. Actavis, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2223, 2237 (2013). But how “large” and how “unjustified” does Actavis require the payments to be?

A new decision by the Third Circuit provides a plaintiff-friendly answer, one that allows claimants in many cases to move beyond the pleading stage into discovery and potentially trial on the merits.
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Because arbitration

If you’ve ever felt that Uber costs more than it should, you can forget about fixing that in court. Under a new ruling by the Second Circuit, no matter how good your claim and regardless of how much money it involves, Uber can beat you every time.

Every. Single. Time.


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The question of who belongs in a class action deserves a lot of think about it time. A good class definition may save class plaintiffs lots of trouble in winning certification of the class — a do-or-die event in the life of the class action.

A new ruling by the Second Circuit highlights that true fact. In re Petrobras Securities, No. 16-1914-cv (2d Cir. July 7, 2017).
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Arise, ye claimants

For more than 40 years, you could wait (and wait and wait) to decide whether or not to opt out of a class action in order to pursue your own individual case. You didn’t have to squawk until (1) you got formal notice of your right to remove yourself from the class and (b) you failed to timely respond by saying “I opt out. Leave me alone. I would rather do it myself! More money for me!!

But the thing that gave you leisure — American Pipe tolling — went partially poof last week. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 (with Gorsuch in the role of Scalia) that tolling may apply to a statute of “limitations” but doesn’t stop the tick-tock under a statute of “repose”. California Public Employees’ Retirement Sys. v. ANZ Securities, Inc., No. 16-373 (U.S. June 26, 2017).

Wake up, people! You may need to move fast.

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IMG_0359Location

The place of suit matters a lot in civil cases. Suing at home helps the plaintiff — by keeping her costs low, giving her comfort that local judges and juries will give her fair treatment, and throwing out-of-town defendants off balance. All of that bigly boosts the plaintiff’s chances of success.

But a trio of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings promise to make plaintiffs’ home fields more like patches of weeds than acres of sweet verdance.
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