Lynne Liberato in Texas Lawyer: Pattern and Practice: Pulling Back the Curtain on Texas Pattern Jury Charges


In the coming weeks, Dallas lawyers Leighton Durham and Kirk Pittard will devour three color-coded publications as if their practices depended on it. That's because the 2012 Texas Pattern Jury Charges (PJC) books are to Durham and Pittard what medical journals are to physicians.

A big part of the partners' practice is advising civil trial lawyers on the delicate art of crafting a proper jury charge — a key ingredient in any successful verdict, they say... 

Statistics back up Moyé's reason for not straying from the PJCs when crafting jury charges. This year, Lynne Liberato, a Houston partner in Haynes and Boone, LLP and a former State Bar president, co-authored a Houston Law Review article on the reasons for reversal in Texas' 14 intermediate courts of appeals. Liberato found that charge errors accounted for 9 percent of the reversals in the courts of appeals between 2010 and 2011.

Those 9 percent of cases reversed for charging errors "were in areas of the law where there are no pattern jury charges or for the failure to submit a certain question," Liberato says.

And that just lends credence to the value of the PJC books, she says.

"The pattern jury charges limit the number of reversals, because it gives the parties and the judges' guidance," Liberato says. "And as courts of appeals review certain jury charges, they are refined and modified by the pattern jury charge committees."

Excerpted from Texas Lawyer, December 5, 2012. To view full article, click here.


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