A car crash case in 1999 ultimately resulted in a verdict of $122 million, earning it the rank of 19 among The National Law Journal’s 100 largest verdicts of 2002. The trial judge later reduced it to $82 million. The case is now on appeal.
Trial technology played an important part in that verdict. Both parties retained large firms that have invested in litigation technology. The case may represent a growing trend — law firms creating their own in-house trial technology departments.
While many firms have information technology departments doing everything from formatting laptops to installing local area networks to setting up audio-visual equipment, in Jernigan even many sophisticated trial exhibits, such as animations, were done in-house instead of by outside consultants.
The firm created exhibits featuring the car involved in the accident. Beasley Allen’s graphics department would create animations to be loaded onto TrialDirector. That way, the litigators would be able to present Lauridson’s animations with the same system they used for video depositions and documents.
Rough drafts were drawn for the team to examine. This initial period is the time when Lauridson finds the biggest advantages in having an in-house graphics department at the firm instead of using outside consultants.