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Litigation Strategies for Neutralizing Anger in Settlement Negotiations and Jury Trials: Preserving Defenses

Taking Aim at Reptile Tactics, Humanizing the Entity, Countering Irrational Emotion Without Admitting Liability

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 9, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will discuss the ways defendants can vigorously defend against liability, head off nuclear verdicts, and reach better settlements by doing more than just denying fault or poking holes in the plaintiff's case. While the panel will address how counsel in jury trials can interrupt and effectively counter the narrative that their client is inherently blameworthy and in need of punishment. It will also hear from plaintiffs’ counsel how to enlist the jury in awarding higher damages by educating them how these kinds of injuries could happen to them.


More frequent verdicts with an extraordinarily high non-economic-to-economic damages ratio suggests that juries are awarding damages based on anger at the defendant.

Plaintiff’s counsel want to have strategies to encourage jurors to be angry about injuries to their clients. Defense counsel want to have strategies for neutralizing juror anger at their clients. Counsel must be able to put themselves in the factfinders’ position and anticipate their reactions and emotions.

Anger is not just a problem for plaintiffs’ and defense counsel in jury trials. Anger and other emotions can sabotage a productive dispute resolution process, and make it impossible to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Both sides usually have an interest in reducing the temperature in a mediation to permit their clients to explore whether middle ground can be reached.

Listen as this experienced panel of litigators and mediators discusses best strategies and techniques for diffusing anger and other related emotions in the courtroom, in mediation, and other settlement contexts.



  1. The problem of disproportionate verdicts
  2. Plaintiff’s view on of anger in resolving disputes
  3. Countering anger and rage at a corporate defendant
    1. Humanizing the entity
    2. Apologizing or taking responsibility
  4. Dealing with the sympathetic but culpable party
  5. Countering irrational emotion during settlement negotiations and mediation


The panel will review these and other critical issues:

  • How can counsel counter the "greed" or "dollars over people" messages?
  • How can a party take responsibility for something without admitting liability?
  • How can defense counsel prepare themselves and their clients for triggers during settlement talks?
  • When is it appropriate to bring in third parties?


Bernabei, Lynne
Lynne Bernabei

Bernabei & Kabat

Ms. Bernabei has been litigating employment discrimination, civil rights, and whistleblower cases for over thirty...  |  Read More

Broda-Bahm, Ken
Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, Ph.D.

Senior Litigation Consultant
Persuasion Strategies

Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm has provided research and strategic advice on several hundred cases across the country for the past...  |  Read More

Pyers, Zachary
Zachary B. Pyers


Mr. Pyers litigates complex commercial, professional liability, tort, and class action matters. He represents clients...  |  Read More

Wallace, Lee
Lee Wallace

The Wallace Law Firm

Ms. Wallace has handled cases in a wide variety of fields, including personal injury, product liability, qui tam...  |  Read More

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