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Peter Anderson – Unveiling the Spirituality, Tactics, and Triumphs of a Truck Accident Trial Attorney
Episode 128th July 2023 • Colorado Trial Lawyer Connection • Keith Fuicelli, Fuicelli & Lee
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Amidst the chaos of a jury trial, mindfulness and calmness are the pivotal keys to communication and success in the courtroom.

On this inaugural episode of Colorado Trial Lawyer Connection, Keith Fuicelli welcomes acclaimed Colorado truck accident attorney, Peter Anderson, to the show. Keith and Peter discuss how Peter’s spirituality plays into his courtroom success, the strategies he uses in voir dire, and how to get stories that resonate from harm witnesses.

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☑️ Peter Anderson | Law Offices of Peter M. Anderson | LinkedIn

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Episode Snapshot

  • Who is Peter Anderson?
  • How Peter’s spirituality plays into what he does in the courtroom.
  • Tactics Peter uses in voir dire.
  • Why Peter uses a personality test at the end of voir dire.
  • Discussion of trucking case #1: Manny v. Swift where Peter won a $5 Million verdict on a connective tissue injury.
  • How to get harm witnesses to tell stories that give goosebumps.
  • How to use props in trial.
  • Discussion of trucking case #2: Sanchez v. DirectTV.

The information contained in this podcast is not intended to be taken as legal advice. The information provided by Fuicelli & Lee is intended to provide general information regarding comprehensive injury and accident attorney services for clients in the state of Colorado.

Transcripts

Voiceover (:

Welcome to the Colorado Trial Lawyer Connection, where Colorado trial lawyers share insights from their latest cases. Join me, Keith Fuicelli as we uncover the stories, strategies, and lessons from recent Colorado trials to help you and your clients achieve justice in the courtroom. The pursuit of justice starts now.

(:

Well, hello everyone. My name is Keith and I could not be happier to have Peter Michael Anderson on as the very first inaugural guest of the Colorado Trial Lawyer Connection Podcast. And before we jump in and chat with Peter, the vision of this podcast is simple. We wanna talk to trial lawyers, Colorado trial lawyers, hopefully shortly after they've tried cases to hear about what worked, what didn't work. The judge voir dire everything to help make us better. Colorado trial lawyers and Peter Anderson could not be a more perfect first guest. First of all, I am very convinced that Peter has tried more civil plaintiff cases in Colorado than anyone I know, getting very close to 50 cases. Peter is a true warrior inside and outside of the courtroom who is walking the walk and not talking the talk. So Peter is just an all around badass and trial master, and I've known Peter A. Long time and I've made him blush. That's exciting. , we've, we've known each other a very, very long time. And going back to what I was just saying, you tried what, three cases in the last, what, four months?

Peter Anderson (:

Yes.

Keith Fuicelli (:

And how many cases have you tried?

Peter Anderson (:

Uh, well first of all, Keith, thank you for putting this together. I know it's been a lot of hard work and I know in years to come the community is gonna benefit as a whole. So thanks for to you and your firm, uh, starting this. It means a lot. And so hopefully a lot of lawyers get great nuggets, um, right after trial. But to answer your question, we usually do a handful of trials every year. We've been in trial for over a month this year, so yeah, and it's been pretty consistent except for 2020. So we've been trying cases every year for over 22 years.

Keith Fuicelli (:

So before we jump in to talk about some of the recent trials that you've done, tell us a little bit about yourself. How is it that you came to become a Colorado trial lawyer?

Peter Anderson (:

Well, I was born to be a trial lawyer. My mom and I in Canada would watch Matlock all the time. That was our show, and we loved it. And he looked a spinning image of, of my grandfather. And then I moved to the United States when I was a teenager and we moved to Michigan and, and to Philly, New Jersey. And, uh, through schooling, went to Washington, dc, New York, and then Boston. But essentially I thought every American does a road trip. And so I got into a car when I turned 21 and toured the United States, and my brother and I found Colorado and said, this is an amazing state. So I love this state. And then with my mom, it was early May, 2001, and sadly I visited an appointment with her and she was diagnosed with cancer. So about two weeks later, we were in Boston, we were at the Harvard Club for the graduation, and we just danced all night.

(:

And in oh one passed the bar. And then fortunately, she flew out to watch me get sworn in front of the Supreme Court with her wig on. And that was just so, so special. And then sadly, she passed away on Thanksgiving that same year in 2001. And so I've always felt like I've had a, uh, angel on my side, but I, I believe I was born to be a trial lawyer and I'm so fortunate, grateful to be a voice of someone who doesn't, can't speak in the courtroom. So that's sort of the story of, of where I come from. Uh, my parents were born in Europe and Scotland didn't graduate from high school, so I had a chip on my shoulder to take it to the next level. And that's how I got myself to Colorado in oh one.

Keith Fuicelli (:

You know, I lost my mom also recently, and I'm just wondering if you ever feel her presence when you're in court.

Peter Anderson (:

I'm sorry for your loss, Keith. And I do, I want to talk about that today in the podcast about some of the cutting edge science that we're learning about connection energy and through, uh, different people and F M R I machines and, and how we can influence people with our feelings. I believe so. And if I wake up in the morning and I hear a blue Jay call and I think, oh, that's your mom talking to you. So, but again, I'm sorry for your loss. What do you think?

Keith Fuicelli (:

I know that my mom would be proud and I know that every time you and I do the same stuff and we're on the side of right. And so it's just an honor to fight for the people we fight for. And I know that both of our moms would just be so proud of the fight and it's not easy. This is a battle that we engage in. Yeah. Lemme ask you a question. Talk to me a little bit about if, if it's okay, your spirituality and how that plays into your philosophy on what you're doing in a courtroom.

Peter Anderson (:

That's a, a great question. So it started when I moved to Colorado. I, in 2000 and I would say two, I went to a silent meditation retreat at the Shambala Center, and it's a three day meditation retreat. And, and I, like you, Keith, have have a lot of energy. And I, I always say I'm the brightest star in the verse to helping clients being a conduit of persuasion and, and information to achieve justice. I believe calmness is, is wisdom. And what, how it evolved is I, I have a story that I'll tell in a bit about the most memorable case, but I essentially just started to get into Buddhism and reading, you know, some great texts by Alan Watts, uh, the book of changes, a little bit of Hinduism on Taoism and the book of Laos. And ultimately, I built a temple in my home and connected with a gentleman named Michael Lierman who wrote The Zen Lawyer.

(:

And if he was on here, he would say, you know, everyone's the Zen lawyer. And so the spiritual reality aspect is a higher purpose of why we're doing it and how we're connected with the world. And so, and loving yourself when asked what we love, how many of us include ourselves. And so I can give you the book, uh, called Peak Mind. I can give you the academic of sitting for 15 minutes every morning has a drastic change of when you're in the courtroom with the, the chaos and the madness and how keeps you grounded and on your mind on task. And so what I started doing is from decades ago, is a serious meditation practice. And for anyone interested, Michael Lierman, uh, in this October has a a week long meditation retreat at his temple, his Buddhist temple of Toledo, Ohio. But I think to help lawyers understand what has helped me, perhaps sitting down every morning in a space that you dedicate and being good to yourself and given 15 minutes of peace.

(:

And what I would say is, and what I say to myself, and I do, by the way, I do this every day and I'm not perfect, 90% still in a, but definitely during trial and the weeks leading up to trial in between trials is I say I take a deep breath and be grateful to be alive. I believe the purpose for me is something along the lines of may the work we do today help reduce suffering in our lives and the lives of our clients and help reduce suffering in the world as we fiercely and compassionately advocate for our clients and champion their stories. May we do so coming from a place of love, and I believe it's possible and actually very effective to come from a place of compassion and love to be an incredibly successful trial lawyer with great results. And, and that is straight from Michael Lierman.

(:

Every morning he's essentially, uh, reads the trial guides calendar. And if you go to the Zen lawyer, it's about five to 10 minutes. And he has wonderful guests on a show like Bill Barton and the Great David Winter. And so it's essentially, if I had to wrap it up in some, I would say everyone hears the term, you know, be yourself and truly that's answering the big questions, your relation and your relationship to the universe, why you're doing this. And it really gives you a lot of power when you take it outside of yourself and with a, a great team, with a coherent trial story. And, and to really get the justice. Civil Justices money damages is the most beautiful example of the micro government that we have. And my job doesn't exist in the country that my father was born in or I was born in. So I hope that answered. It's a big part of who I am. And being grounded is essential during trial because like, like we talked about this morning, so much happens in trial. It's so fluid and being able to, uh, be mindful and, and keep on track and have that calmness, which is the lubrication to communication.

Keith Fuicelli (:

I've had the pleasure of watching you try a case recently. And I was sort of struck by your groundness when there was total complete chaos and acrimony coming at you. And I wonder if your sort of baseline spiritual beliefs and love, I'm thinking about how Nick Row always talks about when you walk into court you have love for the jurors and you trust that they are going to do the right thing and that the system is going to play out. And as you're speaking, I'm wondering is that one of the secrets to your success is that authenticity of just trusting that the jury is going to get it right.

Peter Anderson (:

Without a doubt, Keith. It's coming from a place of love, for example, in jury selection, speaking to one jury at a time. And with soft, loving eyes like Eric Fung talks about, is when you're connecting with that one person, I actually think of a, a light beam from my heart into their heart or my hand on their shoulder. And there's an article, everything sort of is for me backed by, I'm kind of a tactician. I love empirical data and there's collective neuroscience is a, is a rapidly growing field. And essentially what, what we're finding, we've learned about mirror neurons a long time ago, but what we're finding Keith, is that when people converse or share experience their brain waves, they synchronize, right? So neurons and corresponding locations fire at the same time creating matching patterns. It's like dancers moving together and the experience of being on the same wavelength is real and it's visible activity in the brain.

(:

So neural waves in central brain regions of people listening to music match those of the performers. So scientists call this inter brainin synchrony and it's been proved with F M R I machines talking to each other. And I I will end by saying, you leave your feelings with people. And I think that's why I've won over 94% of my trials and I think I've never lost a case that I truly believe in. But it's that subconscious, subtle calmness and, and in your heart. 'cause I think we're all professional lie detectors. We know when someone's fibbing us. So I, I would have to say yes, I, I think with there's some great lawyers out there and if perhaps modeling their successes is gonna give you success. There's certain ways of being a great orator. I mean, you ever think about what makes someone a great orator? What what is persuasion? What is charisma? But 100% Keith.

Keith Fuicelli (:

So before we jump into some of the case that you've tried recently, can you just talk to us a little bit about your philosophy of voir dire? You're here in Colorado, so most of the times you're lucky to get 20, 30 minutes. What does your 30 minute voir dire look like?

Peter Anderson (:

So I will back up very briefly. I do a lot of focus groups to practice for voir dire and my, it's such a part, but my dire would start out by essentially this relates to 12 heroes, basically asking the jurors if they have any questions on the video they just watched, sort of to keep you in the mentor paradigm of their experience coming into the jury. I essentially will use most talkative jurors ever and to talk to each other as a group and connecting people's eyes together, going from one end of the veneer panel and, and connecting with that human and and drawing their eyes to the other. And I think what matters and is practice, I essentially practice a lot. I read a book, the 5:00 AM Club, and I get up and I have poster boards of human faces from Trojan Horse. And one of the things I could say is for those folks listening is what you're about to say to those jurors, mind, map it, take a huge flip chart, draw stick figures in the middle, and start by saying, what are you gonna say to the jury?

(:

And every possible response that the jurors will say to you, and so I have a a path. And, and so the first is that will help you respond and put it in your subconscious of connecting with them. Whatever they say is what you say is important to me and your perspective could be super important. So the first thing is promising that everyone talk to me and I say, you know, if you want something, ask and ask nicely. So please talk to me. I do the brutal honesty and say a tagline, are you with me? And usually people say yes. It's important I think for to let people know, say, folks, I can't talk about facts. You're gonna see the people on paper and I'll point to the stand and they're gonna come and and share with you. And you could ask questions, but right now I can just talk about your opinions, your beliefs, your mindset.

(:

Then I think everyone thinks they're in a criminal and beyond a reasonable doubt. And I I say to them, look, civil justice is money damages folks. You like all these other folks across the United States, civil justice, money damages. And I know a lot of families then I I will say, may I have your permission to talk about money? And I, and most jurors will nod their head because a lot of times money is a sensitive topic. This is not a $50 million case, but it's a very large and important case. The line I like to use is something along the lines of money is the only way to place value on civil rights in a courtroom. The only way to prosecute a case when when person someone's had their civil rights and freedoms wrongfully taken from them. And after the trial, I'm gonna be asking you for a huge amount.

(:

I will tell folks right off the bat how much I'm asking for. It's, it's 7 million and how about that amount of harm and your appraiser of damages, money for pain. How do you feel about that? What feelings stir up inside you? And then essentially I listen, what I think is very important is having a team to see the jury and say, who's the foreman? Who spoke first? Who is the leader? And writing down everything they say to us because soon, well if they're we're gonna sp spoonfeed those, that information back, moreover, um, how they process information. If they say, Mr. Anderson, I see what you're saying. We know, okay, they're, they're a visual learner. And that night we go deep research to fit their political affiliations as to what they are into how, what they want from their experts. And so there's a great article by David Winter and Greg Ano about, uh, the tribal Trump jurors from conservatives and what they want out an expert. So it can be done in 20 minutes. I always ask for an hour and a half. So lately I've been getting 45 minutes to an hour.

Keith Fuicelli (:

I'm pleasantly surprised that 45 minutes to an hour, that seems wonderful. I feel like I'm lucky to get 30 minutes.

Peter Anderson (:

It's true. And I guess I'll, I'll end with my process of when I have a juror that gives me their truth and say whatever it is, say I believe a tort reform is to thank you. May I ask the group a question and come back to you, step back folks who here agrees with this, this person who had the courage to share their truth and then go back and take them down, which essentially is your beliefs would have a likely have a negative impact on the dollar amount of pain and suffering. Yes, is usually what I say, but, and then at the very end, just any reason to fear at the very end I'll use a flashlight or Rex Paris of saying, folks, it's my job to show you all the facts. And if the judge says Turn it off, I will then I'll, I'll say, uh, talk about what the defendants are gonna say, will you wait for both sides?

(:

And oftentimes I'll move for a 47 a three renew I 1 0 4 C request to have more time in voir dire. But I hope that was helpful. That's kind of my process. And, and we practice that a lot, at least two focus groups for each trial. And half of those, that's two hours just for practice with my team, I should mention we have a personality chart I created with 10 personalities, you know, rule follower, rule breaker, but religious, not religious money for paying money for not for pain. And we can show that to the jury, raise their hands with them. We just take one column and we can do that in six and a half minutes. And so if we get about 45 minutes, we'll definitely do the personality test at the very end.

Keith Fuicelli (:

That seems very useful. So I'm hearing you say that, is this on a, like a board, the personality test on a board?

Peter Anderson (:

We have it on a board. We've, I've put it on an Elmo or I like to project it on a screen and so everyone sees it and says, folks just wanna learn know a little bit more about you. We'll use the left ca land column and here goes. And then you can reinforce the more likely than not folks, if in your life you're super religious or or not, just if you're more likely than not on this side, please raise your hand. So you're constantly reinforcing that, subconsciously the burden of proof as well.

Keith Fuicelli (:

I would love to see a copy, so I might buck you for a copy later to take a look at that. Is it primarily aimed at trying to get a feel for their political identification or is it more leaders or followers? What, just generally speaking, what types of things are you asking for at that last five minutes?

Peter Anderson (:

That's a great question. I can share my personality chart. I call it be happy to share it with folks. I file it all the time. One of the two things I ask for in voir dire is, number one is I wanna show the jury a, a picture of of human beings staring. And so I want one photo of a group of people and the second is the personality chart. What matters is identifying leaders who think, you know, it's right to put an amount of money for what was wrongfully taken away. And what we're looking for is when after preempting cause is who are the leaders and, and how is this jury gonna interact? As I always say, Keith, you know, trials are a play that sort of writes itself as it's happening, right? So I you take sort of the heuristics of a story form and you put it into the trial. Pretty much I can almost every trial 'cause it's a story. And then when we meet the jurors, we then adapt to who those jurors are. For example, the second trial we had in late February or or rather March, it was in Larimer and five of our jurors were over 70 years old. And so we had to adjust it. And then again, why I say a trial's like a place writing itself as it goes, what is said in the moment reliving each episodic story with each witness is, um,

Keith Fuicelli (:

I tell you what, I want to jump into some of these cases 'cause you've tried three cases this year and $12 million plus in verdicts. I'm definitely curious about the case, one of these trucking cases with Hall Evans and what that was like litigating against Hallin Evans. But why don't we just start real quick. You've got this Manny v Swift case. Just give us the quick rundown of what this case was about, who opposing counsel was and what your venue was.

Peter Anderson (:

Denver Jill Dorsey was the trial judge. There were five lawyers on the other side from Danny Bristol to Bob Weiner and to Jamie Jameson and a few other lawyers. Uh, one time I think they had eight lawyers on the other side in a fleet of paralegals. It was a case of a hardworking Hispanic gentleman getting rear-ended by a swift truck driver. And they made a big deal of talking and standing outside his truck after the crash and not taking an ambulance and driving from the scene. But essentially he was hurt. He sustained an eye injury that that eventually healed a couple months later. But he was off of work for a good five months, worked for a great company and he had a classic mild traumatic brain injury. Mostly emotional difficulties, I would say the post-traumatic stress disorder and classic connective tissue trauma case pain. They also made a big deal of him not getting any injections, but he had some great caring local community doctors and surrounded by amazing family and uh, a great employer who stood by his side, um, throughout the years. So that was the case.

Keith Fuicelli (:

What was the verdict of that case?

Peter Anderson (:

It was 5000007.2 with interest. And

Keith Fuicelli (:

So I'm sure that all of listeners, based upon what you just said about the injuries are blown away by that result, do you attribute the majority of that verdict to connective tissue, permanent injury, or what? How'd you get 5 million on on those injuries?

Peter Anderson (:

Number one, it's if anyone has ever hurt themselves, uh, which I have. I I race dirt bikes, I compete in jiujitsu. When you hurt yourself, you know, life stinks. And these injuries, connective tissue we're, we're not allowed to say soft tissue in my firm. They're serious injuries. And I think it all goes back to family is most important in our firm, we have a saying, family is number one, we all work so hard, right, don't we? And so that time after work or the weekends doing what you love with the people you love, that's everything. And so essentially it has to do with is being able to, for people to feel and to to see the changes. And we spend a lot of time with witnesses. I have a process of meeting both at meeting and then at trial of harm witnesses and tFuicelling stories in a way to get their working memory and tFuicelling stories that will hit their subconscious and keeping their experts direct.

(:

Very short, very visual, very simple. We need jurors with system one and two brains, but system two brains to really understand the, the medicine. And so I very hardheaded, I'm greedy for justice and I've had some cases where I've gotten an $8,000 offer on a $25,000 policy with no, um, u i m they, after four months, they went up to 12,000. So we filed, we went to Boulder trial, we a couple years ago got 1.3 million, had a bachelor agreement. I I can't tell you the the amount, but I would say that there was settlement negotiations in the many millions of dollars. This is an $8,000 case with a 25,000 offer. So if you take it from a different paradigm of saying, look, look at their life, it's uh, and falling in love with the client and, and then being able to, with calmness, with compassion, with peace and love in your heart to be able to share their stories.

(:

You know, if you break it all the trial down into pieces, it's really kind of simple. And so I think you're spot on. It's loving them, learning them. And when I'll briefly say our process for witness. So we'll meet a witness and we'll listen and when they, we'll just pepper 'em with questions. And when they hit some a story and we all get goosebumps, we're like, oh, we're gonna, we write that down. So we have a piece of paper and a line in the middle and we have before and after. What matters to us is that when those goosebumps come, we have more neurons in our gut than our brain. We're feeling that. And so then what happens is, and I have a courtroom in my office where, and we have podiums and pictures of jurors and we'll go through and, and I'll have them close their eyes and they think I'm, I, I don't care what people think, I'm silly, but we want to bring them there because it's an episodic memory.

(:

And so to bring the jurors to a location, 'cause in order for jurors to remember it has to be about them, right? No, they're only gonna listen if it's about them. People are gonna listen to about me. And so you can describe a kitchen with three sentences and they think, oh, that's my aunt's kitchen, I'm there with you. And then of course your questions bring into the present sense. We're, we're there right now, what's happening right now. And if you have these humans close their eyes and they have to say what's right in front of you and be there and to live it and at trial to bring that out, I know what they're gonna say, but I'm right next to the jury and I I'm with them. And then what happens is I'll oftentimes, our paralegals, I hire a stenographer not to get to read transcripts.

(:

I'm too busy, but to allow me to move close to the jury. So the questions are coming across the jury when a witness says something and, and I get goosebumps and my team gets goosebumps, they write that down. And so those are the stories where there's silence to emphasize, to have compassion, to say that's horrible, I'm sorry. And then to take those stories and in closing argument to show a picture of the witness and to take those, what, what hit my team. And that's what we do at night. We say, who are the human beings? Are we feeding them right? What was said? And the what was said by the witnesses a lot of times is what I use in cross-examination. And I can talk about crossing Rebecca Martin and Tash Chop Burton and some of the vague defense lawyers we know. But that I think is the algorithm of, of how to feel it and then relive it with the jury and then utilize that in closing argument to say, that is our system of justice. And I think it works.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Talk to us a little bit about tone and the power of silence because I can already tell from speaking with you now and watching you in court that you are a master of tone, speed of speaking and the power of silence. How do you use those critical things to your advantage in trial?

Peter Anderson (:

That's a great question. I think if I could take one step back, I read a great book years ago called the Right to Speak. I highlighted it and I typed up all my notes. And there's studies that say that the frequency that human beings, when they hear a frequency subconsciously before they can make a conscious connection, the deeper the voice, those people tend to become leaders. And so I've always wanted to have more resonance and I practiced that. We spoke earlier about having a lot of energy because these trials, they take a lot attitude of you. And if you practice, you are always gonna fall back to the your highest level of, of preparation when stuff goes sideways. And so meditating, having a great diet, I mean it's really a war of attrition in our office. We, and this goes to voice, you need to be your very best.

(:

That moment you drive to the courthouse until the, the verdict is over and we're all patterns. And so if we have a pattern of waking up at a certain time, and whether you're exercising, taking fish oil and greens and hydration, nutrition, supplementation, it's all of these prongs on a wheel. If you have a coherent trial story, you believe in your client, in your heart. And my team in the hallway, I'm like, we're the best trial team. Why are we here to help this person? Then when you get into trial, when it's happening, I think a lot of lawyers get really frustrated because they, things are coming up in trial, it's out of context and you keep thinking, golly, if they just hear that witness in a day or two or know that fact it's gonna, they'll be with us. And so I think when something happens and it surprises you to feel it when you take the moral ground and to ask Tash Hper and Rebecca Martin questions about, if this person came to you three years later and they're a patient, you wouldn't tell 'em that it should have healed in 12 weeks.

(:

You would try to help them, wouldn't you? And so I think the time to raise your voice, and I studied Mamo Levine is the moral righteousness of the defendant's position saying this is frivolous. A person's right in court after they've been hurt through no fault of their own is anything but frivolous. So I tend to think raising your voice only in the moral righteousness of the defendant's position. I think it also has to do with when I have prepared, and I know what this witness is gonna say, I have conversations with these jurors in this trial. I had a an objection. It was objection Mr. Anderson is is just having a conversation with these folks. And the judge laughed and the jury laughed. And, and that's just, it is that, you know, people are like, what character is this man? Ethos, ethos, logos, you can work and practice on your oratory skills gotta it has to come from the heart first.

(:

And then when you are live and and it goes back to the spirituality, I think are, are you in control or are you doing it or is it doing you, is it a combination? You're given your best as my wife of 26 years says your best is good enough. So I think when you do a lot of jury trials, you get into a pattern. You've got your, your where a mobile, mobile theater company, you know, a boutique dinner theater 'cause it's very intimate, but it's the intentions you have in getting out organically. I, we may start with the, the last bullet point. I have my sheet or we may start at the first, but people can tell if it's, if it's organic, I get criticized a lot of, Hey, get to it. Hope that helped.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Yeah, it helps tremendously. And one quick question before, I do want to talk about some of the props that you use in trial. But going back to the tone and hearing yourself and working on your voice. Do you, when you're doing focus groups and you're doing voir dire in focus groups or even for openings and whatnot, do you record yourself and listen to yourself? Do you watch videos of yourself or at this point, have you done it so much that you don't need to to do that piece anymore?

Peter Anderson (:

For the focus groups, and we did one this past Thursday, we don't have a trial for many months. We need to keep our team sharp in the saw I have in the past, if I practice in the morning with my music stand and, and the picture jurors practicing my cadence and movements and a lot of it is about your body. If your body is relaxed, then the resonance from your, we have five residences from your temple, your nose, your jaw, your throat and your chest. So I'm constantly checking my body, how am I doing? 'cause that tension my feet underneath me and I relax is gonna help. I do record my voir dire, I record my opening closed. They're obviously, they all go together and I'll listen to that in the morning driving in. But it's been a while. It truly, those morning practices gives you the confidence of being yourself. So no video I used to do that. We don't record, but I have a team that is open to give constructive criticism 'cause we're, we're always as the united front always learning and, and getting better.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Great. Let's talk about some of the props that you use in trial. I saw you use a bowling ball. Tell us how you use the bowling ball. Tell us how you talk about nerve innervation and then we'll get to the Muscle Pro app. Start with the bowling ball.

Peter Anderson (:

With the bowling ball is the weight of a human head. And so I think it's 11 pounds. And a lot of times I'll bring in a piece of metal or I'll, uh, show the photo of the damage and, and essentially say folks, if, if the energy could do this to metal, think what it could do to tissue. And I typically leave the, the bowling ball around as we'll. Have other witnesses say, you know, what is the average, uh, weight of the human head and what happens when they're not aware, right? Because everything is risk factors. There's a of why you can have two people in a car. The second is I have a demonstrative of rope. We all have nerves carry pain to the brain and we're always gonna have essentially motor and sensory neurons going into muscles and, and parts of the body and going into, uh, in and around joints.

(:

And so essentially, I use an analogy of innervate, right? How do you, what's an analogy of innervate? And I thought of a tree. So tree roots go really deep down and they, the roots, they innervate, they go all around the, the dirt, I said and, and keep the tree healthy. So same thing with a body. If these two sensory and motor neurons, they go everywhere back to the tree. If someone were to take this big corporate building and they, they negligently put it right next to the tree and it would pressure and and compress the, the roots will part of the tree will start dying. And the same thing is true here, right? And so the micro tears to the ligaments, the discs, the connective tissue with the pressure of the trauma, relating it back to the piece of metal or the bowling ball or the photos that is gonna cause parts of the tree to die from the roots.

(:

And that's gonna cause micro tears into the human body. And so it's, and I think every doctor's gonna say, yeah, nerves carry pain to the brain and they send pain signals. And essentially if you think about it, what are we trying to do with a lot of the cutting edge injections? We're trying to get rid of the pain where medial branch blocks let's hit a nerve and see where the pain is. And so, and then I think finally I use what's called Muscle Pro. And we with respect, I took Rebecca Martin through Muscle Pro and and what it is, you know, I've tried five semi uh, truck cases in the last year and a half and she was on one of those earlier ones. It helped. But essentially people are gonna say if you go through Muscle Pro and go through the different levels of tissue, they're gonna say a, it was sprain or strain that's tearing of tissue.

(:

And it's a great visuals of seeing the layers of muscles and saying, you, you agree that some area was torn but you don't know which one. It could be this different levels. And it's everything we do in trial, we have one visual, right, pictures are so important. And then finally to connect it sort of all together we have pictures of a nerve of nerves and human body. And I get so excited the doctors say, if you took our skin away, you'd still be able to recognize someone because of their nerves. And it's a very visual, very graphic of saying, wow, this is the beautiful human body. And when one,

Keith Fuicelli (:

Let me interrupt you. Is it like a fingerprint? You're saying if we all stripped ourselves of our nerves, then we would all have unique nerve roots, just like a fingerprint.

Peter Anderson (:

I've used that. That's fantastic. 100%. So you can make it the argument of, of every individual, everyone has a fingerprint, every has a unique, and it's also about showing, and I will give this to C T L A as well on the listerv, it's also a picture of nerves and it's, you can sort of tell a, a human face, I'm really just saying this is so integral to human existence and when it's hurt it, it affects the whole body. Oftentimes you're, you're still hurting. It's either temporary relief or longer temporary relief. Getting to the sort of the physical impairment aspects of the damages.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Quick question procedurally, are you disclosing the use of Muscle Pro in your expert disclosures? How are you laying the foundation to use that with your experts and with defense experts?

Peter Anderson (:

100% we use it. Uh, we'll we'll put it as a demonstrative in our exhibits for expert disclosures will again put it as a demonstrative in our exhibit list. I'll email defense counsel and say it's $3 I will pay. Here it is. You send a couple emails and the that issue is moot at trial because you can show the emails saying, your Honor, it's an app. There's 10,000 different views. A few of the things that may be helpful for the listeners of, 'cause I do so many trials of pretrial is our pretrials Keith are often well over an hour, sometimes hour and a half, two hours. And I think some of the top things to ask for is, you know, do see these come in? So we don't either. How long number two is copies? I know it seems silly, but ask the judge whether was it one copy or can is it seven?

(:

Number two is lately the defense expert, if they read records without a custodian, are those records getting in? I got half the judges letting it in just 'cause the expert looked at 'em without a custodian. And some judges say no, you gotta have foundation. It's hearsay, you got a custodian. Another thing is using depositions and opening, which I like to do a lot. So I wanna get a ruling on that as well as drawing in direct. I use an Elmo and I really want to know I in cross you can do it, but in direct may we draw to help the jurors who say, I see what you're saying Mr. Anderson. And to increase the level of retention for visual learners and as well as all learners. But the key to answer your question is yeah, let the world know what you're going, what you're gonna uh, show as well as the expert can. What they're gonna say, throw the kitchen's sinking.

Keith Fuicelli (:

What's your view on using and showing medical records in trial? Are you of the opinion, look, assuming they're authentic, let's get an agreement from the defense. These are authentic, they are what they are. We're just gonna agree to be able to show the jurors whichever portions of various medical records you want as long as you get to do the same. Do you have an opinion about the best way to deal with medical records at trial?

Peter Anderson (:

I have my view the, one of the unique things about our just beautiful career is in law school you have some of these trial classes, right? But um, there's so many different ways I could literally list out 25 different segments of organizations trying to say this is how you do trials. My preference with regards to medical records is this, I'm not a big fan of stipulating to all of the medical records because they will hone in and take it out of context. And throughout the trial, especially in opening number two is we have a process when we get medical records in, we have the yellows and blues, right? And that is yellow is good, blue is bad. A trial team is, is looking at the records to say where where are we going? What's the a fact? Oh right away classic sequelae, what's the B fact?

(:

Oh it wasn't mentioned in the ER records. And then c you know, is there anything catastrophic? So we take the records, we have a running sort of bad fact list and that's the BS and the Cs bad and catastrophic. But with record we master the paper. And so what I have developed is what's called, it's called quantitative statistics in our office. Essentially it breaks down to this, the prior records are essentially you've got year provider what it says and when. And so a lot of times we look at the prior records and we're like, they have prior chiro, let's look at the chiro. And you realize, golly, it's four visits a year and they didn't diagnose X, Y, and Z. And you break it down into the smallest syphilis part and you show that to the juror in opening, say, folks this is what the defense is gonna show you.

(:

And this, she was 46 years old and this is it. So that's the quantitative statistics of priors and I'm not a big fan of getting those in and, and then records afterwards. What we do is quantitative statistics is causation is okay, you have a brain injury well on 'cause that's where the defense is gonna go. You take advantage of the process, right? These defense lawyers, they don't have freedom with these cases. I mean with bigger cases that I handle. 'cause I, my firm right now, I would say half close to half of our cases are co-counsel cases, lawyers who are not in the courtroom month after month. And so they hire us to try cases. And so essentially it's, that's what defense have is they have paper, they're gonna master that paper you need to too. But then, um, really that just tells one aspect.

(:

And if all doctors had to write down everything that was said verbatim, medical would grind to a halt, right? And so it's something that we have to deal with and so we quantify it. But to answer your question, no, I'm not a big fan of it. And, but there are certain records that we need to show and make sure we have a custodian of records for them. But again, less is more and I'd rather have a visual connected with a certain portion. But I'm not a big fan of giving jurors tons of records nor given the defense counsel the ability to cherry pick and show them, take things out of context. I don't, just don't think that's fair.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Got it. So we've got a little bit more time, not too much more time, but I wanted to at least touch on one of these other, you try so many cases and you've had such amazing results. Tell us a little bit about the Sanchez versus DirecTV case. That was also another trucking case.

Peter Anderson (:

It was, I would say 90% of our cases involve 18 wheelers. And since that I've gone to trucking school, I've passed the D M V uh, trucking boards, et cetera, passed the pre-trip. But essentially what what happened was it was a young lady who was rear-ended by at and t van, it's connective tissue case, great doctors. She, she had some conservative treatment, she had some injections and in that case they denied liability early on, which is okay. And it was up in Larimer, uh, the verdict was 3.2 million. That was the, where we had five 70 year olds on the jury. And we had to tweak our, our presentation as we go and we tweaked our PowerPoint. What was interesting there is who here, who's listening of the listeners, how many cases you get Lady in blue showing up, giving a ticket? They admitted in, in, uh, the claims file, but they deny it when you file a lawsuit for us it's a gift.

(:

So we send a, a standard letter saying this is all of what we're gonna do and we send admissions about fault and, and we file rule 37 motions to get our attorney's fees and costs after that. Plus it really worked well in this case because they admitted two weeks before trial. We disclose in every case when they deny liability, the fact that that harm not the stress of litigation, they're saying I'm at fault. I mean, and that caused our client stress and we disclose that as an element of damages. And so then we have a lot of great fun and there's many different ways to do it at trial to, to show them you denied liability and but you admitted two weeks ago and what new facts did you have? And nothing. Well why? Because you should ask DirecTV. And so it was really, really powerful.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Lemme jump in real quick. Did the defense try to prevent you from bringing up the fact that they admitted liability two weeks before? Would the judge say

Peter Anderson (:

They certainly do and judge in this case, I don't believe we were able to go through the answer. We deposed the, the 30 B six representative. It was allowed to come in, but it was really truncated. It wasn't as powerful, but the jury knew it. I treated the driver as I try, I mean I'm human with such respect. Our husband, the plaintiff's husband, the defense lawyer was pretty aggressive. And when the plaintiff's husband got on the stand, he said, you weren't very nice to me. He said it differently. He said, you weren't very nice to me. And so when, and you know, the lawyer, defense lawyer tried to apologize, but you know, when the driver got on the stand, I think the first thing I said to him was, uh, good morning in the deposition, was I respectful to you? And he says, of course Mr.

(:

Anderson. Something along those lines. And was essentially like, am I a good human being to you? And we got through it and you can get out even with Tash off burden, even with all these experts if you craft your questions right? Really it's playing on our field because you can craft questions that doesn't matter what they say. And it took me a long, many years to realize that. But I think that was a turning point where people thought, wow, that it's all a likability contest sometimes I think we're still eight years old and in great two, but it, it was super powerful and it got out that they denied. But again, severely, severely limited. But I think most judges, if what you need to do is in deposition, you need to say, you go through the answer and the complaint. You go through let excess letters you, what have you learned? Um, were you using all of your skill? Were you driving like you normally drive? I mean there's a lot of great questions and I can post on some of those on the listerv as well to essentially when they go to say, well we admitted liability. We'll say, well look at the deposition. And the judge reads it and says, yeah, they denied it in their depo. And they, the gentleman was very confused that defense driver. 'cause he's like, he had to go along with what was written down, but it, it didn't make sense.

Keith Fuicelli (:

And so you've gone back after trial after a successful verdict and sought attorney's fees for their denial on the request for admission?

Peter Anderson (:

100%.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Wow, that's brilliant. And what's been the result of that? Do they just, do the carriers just pay it or is that enter into settlement negotiations at that point? They say, what's it gonna take?

Peter Anderson (:

I tell you my wife hates my big verdicts 'cause they appeal and they take more time. But usually around if it's under 3 million, they'll pay two or 3 million. But usually if we're the verdicts five plus, they'll, who wouldn't be heard were they given bad counsel for, they weren't given the, the essentially the worst case scenario. If it's okay, I know we have just a few minutes left. I I wanted to share that.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Please,

Peter Anderson (:

Please. My firm is starting a, um, a C T L a, uh, trucking litigation section at a trucking committee. So we're gonna have an article and trial talk

Keith Fuicelli (:

Great.

Peter Anderson (:

In this August. And our first meeting, we'll be in October and we'll be meeting at least five times a year. And so you'll be seeing a lot of chatter on the listserv. These are very complicated cases. There's a lot of rules. I know a lot of lawyers, they're handling auto cases, they're gonna get a semi-truck and we thought there's, there needs to be an avenue for lawyers to continue to share. C T L A is just, is an amazing organization. That's the power we have is is sharing and learning from each other. And so this will be, uh, an extension of many of the other committees that's gonna be rule out in the fall. And we're, we're super excited.

Keith Fuicelli (:

And aren't you, am I correct that now you are handling exclusively commercial semi-truck type cases?

Peter Anderson (:

Yes. Our firm right now, I'd say 95% involved, 18 wheeler semi-truck. Uh, we only have 15 cases and so we Wow. Most of our, I would say again, over close to half our co-counsel agreements with outta state, we've, we've probably given tens of millions of dollars to lawyers co-counsel. I'm a trial lawyer for hire. That's what we love to do. We usually come in six weeks before we've a great associate who's a parachute lawyer who can review it and look at the motion in liase. And then we take over the case and it's usually the other lawyers are, God, you've got a process and we have detailed process of putting a coherent play together and keeping it on time. And so if anyone is interested, we're, you know, I'm a lawyer for hire and if you've got a case, uh, holler at us and or at least, uh, swing by in the fall to a trucking committee.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Can't wait to jump right into that. And so how do people get ahold of you if they wanna reach out? How do they find, I mean, probably easy enough, but how do they find Peter Michael Anderson?

Peter Anderson (:

So our website is, uh, Colorado truck accidents.com. It's, uh, Peter at Attorney Anderson is my email. And so yeah, that's how you get a hold. And we've got a, a sheet of what we need. So usually if they, the firm will essentially take the top 10 things, send it to us, and we have a paralegal who will, will review it within a week and then present it to us. And we'll then go through and, and I would say a lot of times we're saying, look, you can do this and let us give you two or three hours to share with you some tips of, of how to do it. We have an internal process of how do you take stacks of information and five years of treatment and distill it down into six points and also keep track at trial. How do you, if you walk in and the judge says, oh, we're gonna do a time trial and oh shoot, everything is processed. I think I've done enough. Sure. But, uh, but yeah, that's how they can holler at me. And, and again, I'm committed to helping folks learn because it, it is so complex and so I'm, I'm dedicated to respond to listserv questions and, uh, if I'm not in trial and to really help all of us, uh, helping those hurt through commercial motor vehicle crashes.

Keith Fuicelli (:

Awesome. Well, I want to just sincerely thank you for coming down to our office and being the first guests, as Brian Panis says, right, a rising tide lifts all boats and sharing is caring. And really the whole vision of this is to get people on to talk about what they're doing and how to do this job better, because it's just so very important what we do. And thank you. Thank you. Thank you Peter. Michael Anderson. My

Peter Anderson (:

Pleasure. Thank you, Keith. Thanks everyone.

Keith Fuicelli (:

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