Litigation-Tech Article Archives 5

Beginning with my time in-house at Brobeck (1998-2002), I have enjoyed writing about Legal Technology for many publications. This archive is intended to preserve many of these older articles, which were written prior to the Court Technology and Trial Presentation blog, which started in 2009.

Thank you, Ted Brooks


Articles Archive Contents

Articles Archive 1 - Articles Archive 2 - Articles Archive 3

Articles Archive 4 - Articles Archive 5 - Articles Archive 6


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Press Releases
NOT GUILTY: TrialDirector Wins Again!
...defense team of M. Gerald Schwartzbach bring a verdict of NOT GUILTY in the Robert Blake trial

Press Release from inData, including our report on the $1 Billion settlement. See "Headline News" (Trial Director was the engine...) and "Testimonials"

Software: "TrialDirector was the engine that ran this trial - all the way to the $975 million settlement."
News Details: Here is a report on our recent victorious settlement of $975 Million,
Published MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2002 By Ted Brooks

The Daily Journal
"Courtroom Technology - A Small Price For Victory", By Daniel R. Miller
  Litigation Technology Trends

NOT GUILTY: TrialDirector Wins Again!

I want to sincerely thank all of you at inData once again for such a wonderful trial presentation product. TrialDirector is the presentation software Litigation-Tech used to help the defense team of M. Gerald Schwartzbach bring a verdict of NOT GUILTY in the Robert Blake trial.

From a technical perspective, this was a very complex database. We imported multiple Summation databases (including their coding), and were able to have quick access to everything. We also imported the daily transcripts into DepositionDirector, allowing us to quickly search and review.

One of the strong points of our case was when we played a segment from Barbara Walters' 20-20 interview with Mr. Blake. We digitized and synchronized the video and transcript, using TimeCoder Pro. Then, we created a "clip" in DepositionDirector, consisting of several different segments of the interview. This was then played in the Opening Statement, Closing Argument, and it became an exhibit during the trial - another of our "award-winning" films...

There are other options out there, but TrialDirector is the one we use at Litigation-Tech. During the trial, several DA's were asking what we use, so you can expect calls from both Los Angeles and San Diego District Attorney offices.

I cannot imagine attempting something like this without TrialDirector. Thank you.


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"Courtroom Technology - A Small Price For Victory", By Daniel R. Miller

In Minority Report, an action-detective thriller set in Washington, D.C. in 2054, actor Tom Cruise plays a police investigator who uses a dazzling array of high tech video gadgetry in a "virtual courtroom" setting to convince satellite-conferenced judges to issue arrest warrants for murderers before they commit their crime. By arresting the criminals before they act, crime is effectively eliminated.

Sound far-fetched? While eliminating the "actus reus" (physical act) element from criminal prosecution is not likely to occur any time soon, the advent of high tech video gadgetry in the civil courtrooms is moving at warp speed and producing some amazing results.

Witness the recent $975 million settlement in Western MacArthur Co., et al. v. U.S.F.&G., et al. The settlement, reached after nearly three months of trial in Alameda County, is one of the largest asbestos-related settlements ever made. Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, St. Paul, the successor by merger to U.S.F.&G., has agreed to pay the $975 million to resolve approximately 20,000 underlying personal injury asbestos cases filed in Alameda County from approximately 1982 through present (and for additional future claims).

Plaintiffs were represented by Faricy & Roen PC, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP, and Miller, Starr & Regalia. To deal with the massive amounts of discovery and the daunting task of trial presentation, plaintiffs' counsel turned to Legal Technology Consulting and Ted Brooks.

By the time trial started, the courtroom resembled a neighborhood Good Guys store. There were twenty-three 15-inch flat panel monitors (10 in the jury box, 4 at counsel tables, 4 behind counsel tables for supporting counsel and staff, one in the witness box, and one for the judge), with kill switches to disable the jury's view for unadmitted exhibits. In addition, the parties used a 48-inch flat panel plasma display monitor behind the witness stand for reference by witnesses to documents and other evidence. Plaintiffs used Trial Director on InData Trial Server with Medea external RAID drive, which produced total 300 GB drive capacity to present several hundred exhibits, several days of deposition video and other evidence.

"The Judge (the Honorable Bonnie Lewman Sabraw) wanted to see the trial like a movie, to blend plaintiffs' and defendants' evidence in a way that was easily accessible and understandable to the jury," said Brooks, who acted as the technological maestro in the courtroom. "Since the life of the case (12 years) outlasted much of the technology that was used at the outset, it was a challenge to make all of the technology work. But in the end, we succeeded."

The behind-the-scenes "technology statistics" are staggering. They included:

  • 10 Trial Databases (not including several testing, export, import, and case buildup databases)
  • 105 GB digitized deposition video
  • Combined video runtime: 13 (24 hour) days, 7 hours, 14 minutes, 44 seconds
  • Combined deposition excerpt runtime: 2 (24 hour) days, 13 hours, 12 minutes, 53 seconds
  • 2322 Deposition excerpts (not counting several hundred used for editing purposes)
  • 100 videotaped deposition transcripts (not counting many taped but not digitized)
  • Nearly 900 demonstrative graphic exhibits
  • 15.48 GB document data
  • 164204 TIFF images (all parties, not counting hundreds of thousands in case buildup data)

Amy Matthew, a shareholder with Miller, Starr & Regalia and one of the plaintiffs' lead trial lawyers, had nothing but praise for the work performed by Brooks and the technology team. "This was a case of gargantuan proportion," Matthew said. "Our ability to effectively communicate to the jury, to show the jury a mountain of evidence in a format that they could understand and readily assimilate, was one of the keys to this trial. Without our extensive trial databases and the cutting edge technology used to communicate information to the jury, we would not have achieved the tremendous settlement that we did."

So how does one approach what Brooks described as the "Technological Mother of All Cases"? According to Brooks, the key is to work with competent counsel early on, develop a usable database and use an excellent software program, which in this case was Trial Director. "We agreed to keep a standardized system (Trial Director) following a court order that we were to combine plaintiff and defendant deposition video deposition clips, and play them at the same time, more closely resembling a live witness. This resulted in us (plaintiff) presenting approximately 80% or more of the evidence, with very few "hard copy" documents used during the entire trial. With thousands of exhibits on each side of the table, to try to manage the evidence as paper simply would not have worked in any efficient manner. The Court repeatedly complimented the efficient and effective implementation of technology in the courtroom, and noted how the jury was very focused when deposition clips or documents were shown on the monitors."

At the end of the day, the cutting edge technology used in Western MacArthur Co. may not have prevented the alleged wrongs that led to the filing of the lawsuit, but it certainly contributed to capturing a huge settlement.


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Litigation Technology Trends

2003 is winding up as another remarkable year for legal technology firm Litigation-Tech LLC with their continuing winning streak. Although their previous year's mark of over $1 Billion in verdicts and settlements was not matched, this past year has proven once again that cutting-edge courtroom technology continues to dominate the win-column of today's litigation. This trend applies to both Plaintiff's and Defendant's side of the table, and has shown to have had a great deal of influence on settlements as well as verdicts. "We have seen some fantastic results recently with some of our Plaintiff cases getting very high numbers, while our Defendant cases have brought some full Defense verdicts," commented Ted Brooks, President of Litigation-Tech. "Particularly notable is the fact that we simply have not lost a single case this year against attorneys who were not utilizing TrialDirector or other courtroom technology." Of course, the outcome of any case tried or settled still remains on the shoulders of the litigator, but it should be noted that winning litigators are using electronic trial presentations, as even the Courts are encouraging the use of technology in trial. Recently, after hearing a litigator state that he would be trying the case with hard-copy documents and butcher paper in the "good old fashioned way," a California Superior Court Judge commented to counsel, "You know, we are trying to get into the 21st century here."

A few notable trials for Litigation-Tech this year include Shropshire v. City of Walnut Creek ($28M), Hung v. Caltrans ($5.5M), two Safeco Insurance Defense verdicts and a favorable Eminent Domain verdict for the City of San Diego. Other matters for the firm this year include such high-profile clients as the Oakland Raiders and Oracle.

In the Shropshire case, an exhibit was created right in front of the jury with the witness' direction using TrialDirector's powerful new presentation tools. In another matter, YesVideo was able handle over 100GB of deposition video while Capitol Digital imaged thousands of documents, enabling Litigation-Tech to prepare everything for trial in just one week - something which normally might take a month or more (don't get too excited, the actual billing hours were still about "normal"). This was the result of a well-orchestrated team effort.

Litigation-Tech reports significant growth in the number of Plaintiff cases handled, demonstrating the continuing trend of more and more Plaintiff's attorneys joining the ranks of "high-tech litigators", while enjoying substantial growth in Defendant cases as well. They have enjoyed working this past year with firms ranging in size from Solo Practitioner all the way up to the world's largest law firm (Clifford Chance).

The savings realized by a client in the length of the trial alone can easily pay for all of the technology and trial consulting, with many estimates cutting the duration of a trial by as much as in half. Not to mention, just one "win" can easily cover trial technology expenses for many more to come.

About Litigation-Tech LLC
Litigation-Tech LLC is a San Francisco-based legal technology consulting firm specializing in trial consulting, trial preparation, and courtroom presentations throughout California and the nation. Litigation-Tech has been recognized and referred by the makers of Summation (Summation Legal Technologies, Inc.) and TrialDirector (inData Software LLC) software as one of the nation's premier litigation technology firms. Ted Brooks, President of Litigation-Tech LLC is a Member of the American Society of Trial Consultants.


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