Earning Jurors’ Trust: The Company Historian

Manufacturer defendants often lack company witnesses who can tell the whole product safety story at trial, earning jurors’ trust by explaining to them how the company tested the product, how the company warned about the risks, how the company monitored the product on the market, and how the company reported what it knew to government regulatory agencies. Jurors―whose primary concern is product safety―are instead presented with a piecemeal safety story told by several different and sometimes contradictory company witnesses. Even if all of these company witnesses are able to demonstrate real concern for product safety (which rarely happens), the full product safety story is often hard for jurors to track.

It can be very helpful for companies to develop a company historian, a witness who has learned all aspects of a product’s development and who can tell jurors the complete product safety story. This witness does not need to have been involved in all of the product development and testing stages; he or she simply needs to be familiar with these stages. Developing this kind of witness can require a significant investment of time and effort, but this investment can pay huge dividends for product manufacturers at trial.

How do you help your witnesses testify in a way that earns jurors’ trust?