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Defense Strategies for Preventing Massive Verdicts: Countering Reptile Theory, Anchoring, Large Number Bias

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 Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

The CLE webinar will provide practical techniques for overcoming the factors driving outsized and disproportionate verdicts in personal injury cases. The program will discuss how to address jury desensitization regarding inflated numbers and value, overcoming the jury's desire to punish, ways to countervail jury outrage, and how to persuade plaintiffs to recognize risk.


Both the number of cases and the size of verdicts in personal injury litigation have increased at an exponential rate over the past decade. These are not simply large verdicts for significant and serious injuries, but gargantuan dollar amounts that dwarf reasonable compensation. The defense bar seems to agree on the factors and trends driving this increase but need to develop consistently effective solutions.

All of these trends and factors appear in each case and work in tandem to produce irrational and outsized verdicts. One particular challenge is that plaintiff's counsel, not the plaintiff, generates these conditions, while defense counsel must work through defense witnesses to overcome them.

Listen as this experienced panel discusses deposition and trial techniques for dealing with some of the most common trends and factors leading to extreme verdicts.



  1. Reptile theory
  2. Anchoring and adjustment
  3. Large number bias
  4. Availability heuristic


The panel will discuss these and other critical issues:

  • How can counsel teach deponents to avoid answering reptile questions in absolute terms?
  • How can counsel identify those jurors most susceptible to reptile logic and bias?
  • How can defense counsel remove the plaintiff's anchor?
  • How can counsel keep jurors from focusing on high number verdicts they hear in the news?


Gurbach, Matthew
Matthew D. Gurbach

Bricker Graydon

Mr. Gurbach is a diversified trial attorney that represents individuals and corporations in complex business litigation...  |  Read More

Marinakis, Christina
Christina Marinakis, J.D., Psy.D

Jury Consulting & Strategy Advisor
IMS Consulting & Expert Services

Dr. Marinakis has 19 years of jury research, study, and applied practice in law and psychology. With homes in Los...  |  Read More

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