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How do you know when you’ve landed in a “problem” jurisdiction? When you can check off any of the items on the following top-ten list. Walter Watkins, Jr., swears that all of the following incidents happened to him or his colleagues at Forman Perry Watkins Krutz & Tardy, a Jackson, Mississippi�based defense firm. 10. The word “billion” is mentioned in any context by the plaintiffs lawyer and the judge at the initial status hearing. 9. The judge casually and proudly informs you that you have a chance to make history in her courtroom because there has never been a verdict for a defendant in her eight years on the bench. 8. A casino is the venue for any court proceeding. 7. After seeing the jury panel, your jury consultant quits the case and refunds the money you’ve paid her. 6. The court asks if you have a case supporting your argument that the aunt and uncle of the plaintiff cannot sit on the jury. 5. One of the plaintiffs in your case is also on the jury panel. 4. 60 Minutes has done a report on the jurisdiction and been sued for libel by a juror who said that there were “under the table” rewards when the case was over and a large verdict was returned. 3. During the trial, the jury spontaneously sings “Happy Birthday” to the plaintiff’s lawyer, but there is no mention of it being the lawyer’s birthday. 2. You learn that in the court’s most recent trial, the only note sent out by the jury to the judge was a request for a calculator with more zeros on it. 1. Your state’s legislature enacts a “tort reform” law, but eliminates asbestos cases from some of its provisions and limits punitive damages for some companies to 5 percent of a company’s net worth, with no limit on the number of times that punitive damages may be imposed. Still, hosannas ring out because the judicial system has been “saved.”

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