A must for every practicing litigation lawyer – Rules of the Road: A plaintiff's guide to proving liability takes the reader on a journey from filing the complaint for the first time to finding it, using experts and documents to prepare the process, and then in the crucial techniques necessary to win a try while applying the rules of the road.
Rules of the Road is America's best-selling text to prove liability. Since it hit the shelves in 2006, lawyers across the country have been helping to make six-, seven-, and eight-digit judgments in cases of difficult liability. The book is the basis of an American Association for Justice Trial College, which is the subject of many CLE lectures by the country's leading litigators, and is also taught in litigation classes at law schools. The book contains numerous examples and explanations that come directly from actual pleadings, statements and test protocols. These examples illustrate how these principles work while allowing the reader to adapt the concepts they have learned to their own cases.
So what are the rules of the road?
At its most basic level, the Road Traffic Regulations are a technique that first educates the trial attorney, then the judge, and the jury of the basic principles of the case, according to which the dispute must be settled on the basis of the defendant's obligations and for which it must be violated Should be held accountable.
As lawyers, we venture into complex areas of human endeavors – engineering, architecture, insurance – and ask the jury to follow us there. Each of these areas has numerous complex standards, customs, rules, principles and regulations that the average person does not know or even understand. It is the plaintiff's task to break down the complex principles in one case into digestible and easily understandable concepts for the jury. In this way, plaintiffs' lawyers can defeat the three weapons each defense lawyer uses to defeat a plaintiff's case: complexity, confusion, and ambiguity.
The book creates a formula for constructing “rules” – principles that even opposing lawyers and their witnesses cannot disagree with – that are broken down into bite-size, digestible information that any judge can understand regardless of their background. These rules can create the roadmap to guide a plaintiff's lawyer on the road to victory. Rich Friedman, a long-time friend and colleague of Chip Merlin, spoke on his website about some reasons for writing this book:
We wrote this book for our attorneys-at-law, who represent consumers, patients, and other real people in litigation to correct injustices and injuries. We have more than four decades of experience in case preparation and review. We have lost the ashes of an unfair defeat. We have also had great success. We love our job and scrub the falsehoods that are regularly traded by the rich and powerful today who don't like it when we hold them accountable in court. Every time our side loses, the other side scolds that another frivolous lawsuit has broken out. Most of the time, we think the opposite is the case: reckless defense mechanisms have won due to complexity, confusion, and ambiguity.
Ultimately, this book is about how to breathe life into ambiguous legal standards and create an undeniable standard that everyone – judges, juries, and accused – can see. The standard must be as clear as crossing a double yellow line on a highway.
As a policyholder lawyer, one of my favorite parts of the book, in which the authors break down, is how to create a principle or standard that helps solve a case, which is easy for the jury to understand. In the world of insurance, there are many complex terms, principles, or standards that a jury may not understand. In this book, you will learn how to resolve this. For example:
Cal. Code of Regulations Section 2695.4 (a): Every insurer must disclose to a first-time applicant or beneficiary all benefits, coverage amounts, deadlines or other provisions of an insurance policy issued by this insurer that may apply to the claim submitted by the applicant. If, after receiving additional proof of entitlement under the insured person's insurance policy, additional benefits may become due, the insurer shall inform the insured person immediately and work with the insured person and assist him in determining the extent of the insurer's additional liability.
What is a better principle for the jury to judge the behavior of the insurer? The language of these regulations? Or:
The insurance company should support the policyholder in making the claim
It's an easy choice, isn't it?
One of the key features of a successful litigation attorney is the willingness to continue looking for ways to improve and expand our craft. Chip Merlin referred this book to me and as a litigation attorney for policyholders, I couldn't take it off. I will have it with me for the rest of my career and will be back for the coming years. For more information, see the Pay Up! By attorney Chip Merlin.
Thought of the day:
The true masters of litigation do not consider themselves masters at all. They are enthusiastic students in litigation.
– rules of the road