Newport Beach Partner Rachel Mihai was recently referenced in a publication in Law.com titled “Are Defendants Tipping the Scales on Reptile Theory?” The article discusses Reptile Theory used by plaintiff attorneys and how defense attorneys are defending against this theory or preventing the use of this strategy in trial. Ms. Mihai and Newport Beach Associate Sarah Vega utilized a pre-trial motion in a recent Federal Court Trial in which they asked the Court to preclude plaintiffs’ anticipated use of the “Golden Rule” and “Reptile Theory,” which was granted before presentation of the case to the jury.
“Reptile Theory” is a strategy in which the plaintiff persuades jurors by appealing to their “reptile brain” which is the part of their brain responsible for primitive survival instincts such as safety and survival.
“There has been a big effort by the defense bar to try to preclude those type of arguments because what they end up doing is presenting a jury that is scared by the time they get to the verdict stage, and they want to award more damages to punish the defendant, which is not proper,” said Rachel Mihai, a partner in the Newport Beach, California, office of defense firm Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara. ” And the plaintiffs attorneys might put fear in the jury that, if they don’t make a decision, that we as a society will see this condition come up again and again, and they have to be responsible as jury members.”
In granting the motion, the Court referenced arguments asking the jury to do unto others as they would have other do unto themselves as improper. A jury that puts itself in the shoes of one of the parties is no longer an impartial jury.
Read the full article here: