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Defeating Reptilian Tactics in Construction Litigation

Responding to Reptile Techniques During Discovery, Deposition, Voir Dire, Opening Statement, Cross-Examination, Closing Argument

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, June 8, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will guide construction litigators in recognizing and combating the trial strategy of leveraging the so-called "reptile theory" in construction claims. The panel will discuss the increased use of reptilian tactics by plaintiffs' attorneys and how defense counsel can strategically confront the strategy.


The infamous trial strategy called "reptile theory" has gained traction among the personal injury plaintiffs' bar and well-prepared defense counsel. The theory promotes the use of trial tactics appealing to the region of jurors' brains sensitive to safety as a tactic to gain an advantage at trial and recover sizable verdicts.

Reptilian tactics are frequently used in construction litigation. Defense attorneys must understand how to identify and combat reptilian tactics.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses the use of reptilian tactics in construction litigation and how defense counsel can challenge these tactics to increase their client's chances of success.



  1. Reptilian tactics in litigation: explanation of theory and current trends in its use
  2. Defense strategies during discovery and depositions
  3. Pretrial strategies to limit or exclude the reptile theory
  4. Combating the reptile during trial


The panel will review these and other important issues:

  • What is the underlying basis for the strategy known as the "reptile theory"?
  • How are plaintiffs' attorneys leveraging reptile tactics in their cases?
  • How can defense attorneys spot and identify reptile tactics before they occur?
  • How can defense attorneys prepare for, defend, and counter the increasing use of reptilian tactics?


Thomas, William
William S. (Bill) Thomas

Co-Founder, Principal
Gausnell O’Keefe & Thomas

Mr. Thomas has tried more than 60 cases to verdict. His practice is diverse, with an emphasis in complex litigation. In...  |  Read More

Vail, Tami
Tami G. Vail

Managing Partner
Kahana & Feld

Ms. Vail’s practice includes significant and diverse civil litigation and trial experience. She regularly...  |  Read More

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