Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Interesting Superior Court Ruling on Permissible Use of Powerpoint During Closing Argument

In the case of W.C. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 2017 Pa. Super. 356 (Pa. Super. Nov. 13, 2017 Panella, Ransom, Fitzgerald, J.J.) (Op. by Panella, J.), the court ruled that allowing counsel to use powerpoint slides as a visual aid during closing argument was not an abuse of discretion by the trial court.   This was particularly so given that the court found that the slides did not misrepresent the evidence presented at trial.

The Superior Court also held that the powerpoint slides were permissible in the Closing Argument even though the slides had not been admitted into evidence.

Notably, the court also held that opposing counsel had no right to review the materials used in an opponent’s closing argument prior to the presentation of the same.  

This decision is otherwise notable for the Superior Court’s decision that the trial court should have required clarification as to which part of a witness’s testimony was lay opinion testimony and which part was expert opinion testimony where that single witness gave both types of opinion testimony.   The Superior Court found that, since no clarification was given at the trial court level, this was reversible error. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith and the writer of the Drug and Device Law Blog for bringing this case to my attention.  

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