Mediation Case Study: Construction site death

A young man delivering a paycheck to a worker on a construction site was killed when a brick wall fell on top of him. The Defense team was convinced that a jury would put lots of blame on decedent because he was not authorized to be on the premises, and because he was in the U.S. illegally.

First Court assembled a group of twelve jurors from the trial venue, then we showed them a few facts of the case, pictures of decedent’s family, and a ten minute video of the Defendant’s Safety Director. Most of the jurors disliked the Director, ignored the decedent’s behavior, and found the Defendant largely responsible. We recorded their feedback and shared it with both parties. Once they had a chance to digest and reevaluate their positions, we brought the parties together and reached a settlement.

This feedback—fair, objective, inexpensive feedback—on the precise issue separating the parties, opened their eyes to be realistic about how this case would play out at trial. The video responses of the juror’s raw impressions was emotionally meaningful, and impossible to ignore. Somewhat like a public jury, except the feedback was narrowly focused, much less slow and expensive, and gave the parties a chance to reevaluate before being blindsided with a binding judgement.