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August 11, 2017

Kenneth N. Thayer

Ken Thayer discusses “Rules for Admissibility of Demonstrative Tools” in business trials

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Associate Ken Thayer published a piece in the Summer 2017 issue of ComCom Quarterly, a newsletter organized by the Complex Commercial Litigation Section of the Massachusetts Bar, called “Rules for Admissibility of Demonstrative Tools.”

An excerpt:

Demonstrative exhibits and other visual aids can be immensely valuable tools for attorneys trying business cases. Indeed, the use of charts, timelines, models, videos or computerized graphics can bring dry, esoteric information to life and render it comprehensible for jurors.

To use demonstrative exhibits and visual aids effectively at trial, it is crucial to first understand the respective rules governing their admissibility. Unlike visual aids, demonstrative exhibits are considered evidence in the record and, consequently, are subject to higher admissibility standards. By contrast, visual aids (sometimes called “chalks”) are merely illustrative tools that may be permitted under a lesser showing.

Trial judges are given “broad discretion in the admission” of demonstrative exhibits and visual aids at trial.1 If appealed, their decisions are reviewed under an “abuse of discretion” standard and are rarely overturned.2 That said, trial judges do not have unfettered discretion in ruling on a demonstrative’s admissibility, but are instead guided by several factors.

Read the full article here.  For more information, contact attorney Ken Thayer.

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