History of

In the early 1960's trial attorneys
began using film to communicate
to juries how tragic incidents have
affected their clients. What we now
call "day-in-the-life" videos were
originally done on film.

At first, some of them were not
admitted because they seemed
to be playing for sympathy, but
one case stood out from the rest:

A young athlete from the University
of Arizona was invited to demon-
strate the use of the trampoline at
a local business.  While using this
trampoline, he took a bad fall and
was rendered quadriplegic. (due to
a defect in the equipment)

It was obvious to his attorney that
words alone were inadequate to
communicate the seriousness of
his condition. He decided to use
the medium of movie film to com-
press a day's activities into thirty
minutes.  The key points of the
young man's routines were well
documented for the jury to see.
It made a major difference in
the outcome of the case.

One of the early landmark cases in
admitting this type of film or video
was in Alaska in 1977:
Grimes v
Employers - 73 F.R.D. 607, 610
(D. Alaska 1977)

In 1987, (
Bannister v Town of
Noble, OK 812 F.2d 1265 10th Cir)
the 10th Circuit gave some guide-
lines, including:

"The videotape must fairly represent
the facts with respect to the impact
of the injuries on the plaintiff's day-
to-day activities. . . . The probative
value of a film is greatest and the
possibility of prejudice is lowest
when the conduct portrayed is limited
to ordinary day-to-day situations."

"Conduct that serves little purpose
other than to create sympathy for
the plaintiff is highly prejudicial.
Therefore, avoid including exager-
ated, self-serving material."

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For more information about how
video can help your cases, call
Jonathan at 562 989-1334

Whitcomb Legal Video
Jonathan Whitcomb, C.C.V.
Long Beach, California
562  989-1334