$44 Million Verdict: Vivid Demonstrative Evidence at Trial

Summary: Hydraulic Press Failure

One day, a 30,000-ton hydraulic press company that forges aluminum and titanium products discovered that one of their hydraulic presses had malfunctioned. This press was over fifty feet tall, and weighed over eight hundred tons. Their production halted, and the failure resulted in major revenue and product loss, plus extended downtime to repair the press.

The press was insured, but the insurance company refused to cover the cost of repairing the failure. As a result, the aerospace company sued them, and retained Courtroom Animation’s team to develop the animation above. By leveraging this accurate demonstrative evidence at trial, the company received a $44 million verdict.

Challenge: Various Legal Parties & Complex Machinery

Due to the press’ sheer size, a visual representation was crucial in communicating the thousands of components inside the press itself, how they worked together, and where the press failed. It would be rare for any juror to know exactly what tie rods are, where they are placed inside a press, or how such a part can even fail.

Plus, with a major company and an insurance company in litigation, there were many legal parties, experts, and attorneys involved. Everyone had their own opinion on the case and how to approach the visual. So, the plaintiff counsel needed a unifying and admissible visual aid to communicate their case to the audience.

Solution: Memorable Demonstrative Evidence at Trial

The plaintiff counsel was one step ahead of the defense in terms of visuals. They had already collaborated with a technical advisor expert to scan the press. This scan, plus reports on how the machine operated, was crucial to creating an accurate and admissible demonstrative exhibit.

Legal graphic of Demonstrative evidence at trial

Sample of Courtroom Animation’s Demonstrative Evidence at Trial

The legal animation begins by walking the jury through the key components of the press and how it normally operates. The plaintiff’s expert would use this as a visual aid to explain how it works and how the failure occurred. Then the product failure animation highlighted in red where the failures were – in four of the tie rods.

This litigation strategy eliminated any confusion in the jurors about where the failure was or what the attorneys were talking about in their opening statements. Plus, the video could be played back and paused to answer any questions, and even referenced in deliberations.

To avoid conjecture, the demonstrative evidence only labeled the four bottom tie rods that failed – not how the press had actually failed. In addition to this animation, the plaintiff counsel used stills of the hydraulic press on a whiteboard during their opening and closing statements.

Result: $44 Million 

This data visualization conveyed the components that failed and how massive an endeavor it would be to repair the press. By leveraging demonstrative evidence during trial, the insurance company was determined to be liable. As a result, the jury awarded the plaintiff counsel a $44 million verdict for their client. An incredible ROI!

Courtroom Animation’s team of visual strategists, developers, and legal animators can create a demonstrative exhibit for any case regarding:

  • Product liability
  • Personal injury
  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Medical malpractice
  • Aviation crashes
  • And more.

Interested in learning how demonstrative evidence at trial can strengthen your case? Get a free quote based on your litigation needs today! Or, if you just want to know how much a legal graphic or animation costs, download our free trial animation pricing guide.


Erika Bright

Wick Phillips

Case Type