1. How does a class action lawsuit differ from a regular
Can you think of examples of class action lawsuits?
What are the advantages of filing a class action lawsuit?
allows a large group who suffered similar damages
to file a suit together.
keeps the court from being tied up with thousands
of similar court hearings.
also deters companies from doing anything that may
harm the public.
4. Copy “Steps in a Jury Trial” from (http://www.hamilton-co.org/MunicipalCourt/Jury/steps_in_a_trial.htm)
and hand out to students. Tell them they will
be referring to these charts for the unit’s remainder.
Copy the article, “Case Study: Radiation Poisoning
Affecting Two Communities” from the following
Have students work in pairs. Assign one student the
plaintiff attorney the other the
use handouts to complete the following:
are an attorney preparing to argue the case regarding
the class action lawsuit against the Nuclear
Materials and Equipment Corporation. Complete
the following in order to ensure you are prepared
for the trial.
are an attorney for the ______________ (plaintiff/defense).
of the party you are representing:____________________
The first step in the trial is to select the
jury. Give an example of a “challenge for
may use regarding this specific case:
Will you or the opposing attorney give opening
Using the information from the article, write
an example of an opening statement
will persuade the jury (actual opening
arguments are quite
long, however you have limited information
available to you).
Who will present evidence first?
Give an example of a witness who may be called
for direct examination.
b) What other evidence might be used?
What is the significance of cross-examination?
What takes place after the presentation of
7. Divide the class into 4 groups:
groups composed of plaintiff attorneys
groups composed of defense attorneys.
them for their opening statements and compose one to
to the judge.
The two groups representing the plaintiff will make their
opening statements first
followed by the
with their opening statements.
Discuss with class the importance of opening statements.
What should the
(Remind the students
the jury do not know the case details so it is
the lawyer’s job to give background on
the case during opening statements). Using the
mentioned; discuss which opening statement was
the most effective.
the opening statements, what other aspect of the trial
process are important?
Tell the class that in a civil case 7 out of 8 jurors
agree on their final decision.
a criminal case where the prosecutor must prove
the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable
doubt” the jury in the civil case decides
on the case based on “preponderance of
the plaintiff’s evidence prove by more than
50%, that the defendant is liable for damages?
on this criteria, the jury decides which party is responsible
and the amount
they will award. If the 7 jurors cannot
agree on a decision
the judge may declare a “hung-jury”.
In this case the defendant may be tried
by another jury
at a later time.
next lesson will address criminal trial procedures so
1. Copy the “Criminal Case Road Map” (pages
1-3) from http://www.audrain-county.org/government/pa/criminal.htm . Also click on “Go here for
more details about jury and jury trials” (under
the trial heading). Copy both sections
for each student.
Go to: http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/crime/index2.html and select four to five different
crime articles. Suggestions:
Woman Put Chemical in Deadly Drink (AP)
No Bruises on Scott Peterson (AP)
Could Come Down in Ferry Crash (AP)
Woman Put Chemical in Deadly Drink (AP)
man found not guilty of fatally shooting his terminally
Divide the class into four-five groups (depending
on the class
size) and give
each one a different
article to read. Students in
each group will discuss and record
their answers to the following
is the article about?
to your “Criminal
Case Road Map”.
Which point(s) on the
road map are illustrated in the article?
the defendant and the crime they are charged
the relevant evidence for both the prosecution and
Have each group share their cases with the rest of the
class by discussing
Discuss with the class the criminal case roadmap.
there any steps not illustrated in the cases reviewed
by groups? What
recourse does a defendant have if he is found
guilty in a criminal
trial? (tell the students they will look at the appeals process in the
Discuss with the class: What are the differences between the civil process and
criminal process? Create a “T” chart on the board and ask
students to list the steps in order from the indictment (criminal) or
when a complaint is filed by the plaintiff (civil). Tell students that
they should now be able to give specific differences.