Earning Jurors’ Trust: Tough-Minded Company Witnesses

Product manufacturer defendants frequently offer jurors company witnesses who are overly cautious scientists or uncommunicative engineers. These witnesses sometimes make no effort to communicate their concern about safety, even if they are testifying about products that jurors use and rely upon (e.g., child safety seats, seatbelts, prescription medication). Even if company witnesses are not particularly warm or likable, they can still have a positive impact on jurors if jurors believe they are the kind of tough-minded person who will insist that the company makes a safe product with solid warnings. In fact, the highest compliment jurors can pay a company witness is not “that witness seemed really nice,” but “that’s the kind of tough-minded person I would want in charge of product safety.”

How do you decide when your witnesses are ready to testify at deposition or trial?