Reptile Theory at Deposition: Extinct or Evolved?

After being regularly exposed to Reptile tactics for nearly 15 years, how are defense witnesses STILL being “Reptiled” at deposition, resulting in costly nuclear settlements and crushing verdicts? The truth is that defense witnesses are still getting Reptiled by well-trained plaintiff attorneys because the defense bar never fully understood the Reptile Theory as a whole, much less the deposition-specific Reptile attacks used against their witnesses. Comments such as, “Reptile is just a regurgitation of the golden rule,” have been echoing throughout law firm hallways since 2009, with accompanying eye rolls. After billions of dollars of Reptile settlements and verdicts, here is the bad news: Reptile tactics have not only been highly effective, but they have also evolved and are here to stay. This article examines the misunderstandings of Reptile Theory and exposes the psychological principles plaintiff attorneys use to achieve disproportionately high dollar settlements and trial verdicts.