Timothy J. McDermott, Esq. (Ret.)

Timothy J. McDermott, Esq. (Ret.)

My name is Tim McDermott. I’m with the Akerman Firm in Jacksonville. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Magnus, including Dr. Pigott and David Fauss for well over 15 years now. It’s been an excellent experience for me. I believe that my clients have benefitted financially. I have benefitted professionally from my experience with David and Melissa. They both approached me recently and asked if I would be willing to say a word about the quality of their services, the timeliness, and I told them as I tell you, I was more than happy to do it. My experience has been superb.

I’ve typically used Magnus in three different ways over the years. The most important way from my perspective is the high exposure case. That case where there is a lot financially at stake. I have used Magnus to conduct in those cases, mock jury assessments, including where Magnus will proceed and gather mock juries from the same venue in which the case is going to be tried. There will be a presentation, and a fair presentation, with which Melissa and David’s assistance were put together, but a fair presentation of both sides of the issue with fair, active, argument from counsel will be representing both sides of the issue, presented to the mock jury for the purpose of seeing, and listening, to their deliberations. What they think is important. What they didn’t think was important. And to get some gross reading of indications of where they might lean if that kind of case were presented to them. Frankly, we’ve found that to be very informative and very important for my clients.

In some of the circumstances, I remember particular a case where Dr. Pigott had recommended that we have a second alternative mock jury in the wings scheduled for after lunch to address a strategic issue. Specifically, it dealt with a strategic issue we were struggling with as to whether my client, a defendant, should be pointing the finger a Fabreʹ party. The case involved an electrocution. At her suggestion, before lunch we played it the way I thought we should play it, which is to point the finger at the third party, the Fabreʹ, we saw the results. Then after lunch, we brought in the alternative panel, made exactly the same presentations, exactly the same arguments, with the only variable we changed in the alternative was I did not point the finger at the third party. I was frankly surprised at the jury deliberations and their thoughts on that and the consequence it had on their verdict. As a result, that had a major bearing on how we proceeded with the case and ultimately how the case was resolved.

That has traditionally been the classic way I’ve used Magnus in my practice, but there are two other ways. One is I’ve used both David and Dr. Pigott to critically assess key issues in the case. Whether those were helpful issues to me, i.e., problems with the other side, that I want to take advantage of, and how would be the best way to do that, or conversely, to use their expertise and their experience over all these years in assessing problems with my case. How I package those problems. How I present those problems. They’ve been very helpful in allowing me in strategic discussions with the client to determine issues of voir dire, proof presentation, cross examination, and argument. Very helpful in that second respect.

The third area I’ve used them in, it’s more basic, but that is to provide Dr. Pigott and David with case information, depositions, key summaries of what the case is going to be about to allow them to assist in voir dire questions, which enabled me to accentuate, frankly even during voir dire, some of the positives of my case, and to perhaps inoculate the jury, or potential jury panel, from what are going to negatives, downsides of my case. I’ve found them to be very helpful.

Over the course of the many years I’ve used them, I’ve found Melissa and David to be extremely prompt. Very practical. They are cost conscious. Clearly, when you use these services, whether it be from any of the providers, they’re not cheap. But I’m a firm believer, that you, in fact, get what you pay for, and you get what you pay for with Magnus, I found. The proof in that pudding is in those instances, and I’ve had them, where I will hear from Melissa or David, not just what I’m hoping to hear, not what I expect to hear, but rather candid advice including, “I think you ought to think about admitting liability on this case and trying damages or, you ought to do this or that.” It may not be what I particularly wanted to hear, but I listen to them and I’ve grown based on experience, I know what they’re talking about and I value their judgment. That said, I am pleased to be here to speak on their behalf and I soundly recommend and endorse their services.

An additional benefit of the mock jury experience is it provided a great forum for my client to educate his client about the realities of the case. Until that client actually hears that mock jury deliberating and emphasizing points that I’ve been trying to tell them for six or eight months in the case, in which they’ve been slothing off, until they hear that mock jury mouth those same considerations, it doesn’t have the same affect. I do believe that the education of your client based on the discussions and the reality check that a mock jury provides is extremely helpful, extremely beneficial.

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