© 2016 The Texas Lawbook. http://texaslawbook.net/
By Mark Curriden
(Nov. 28) – A heated battle between the nation’s two largest litigation consulting businesses has made its way into federal court in Dallas, again.
Courtroom Sciences, a Las Colinas-based jury selection firm started by TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw in 1990, accuses rival DecisionQuest of plagiarizing a CSI copyrighted, analytical report that debunks one of the most popular trial strategies used by plaintiff’s lawyers in big-dollar cases.
The lawsuit claims that CSI Vice President Bill Kanasky Jr. authored two lengthy articles in 2014 about a courtroom technique called the “Reptile Theory,” which shifted the age-old strategy of plaintiff’s lawyers from trying to make jurors sympathetic for their clients to instead make them angry about the conduct of corporate defendants.
In the complaint filed in the Northern District of Texas, CSI lawyers claim that DecisionQuest Vice President Ann Greely of Houston presented a paper at an American Bar Association Litigation Section meeting in New Orleans in May 2015 adopting much of Kanasky’s analysis and many of his conclusions” but doing so “without crediting” Kanasky.
“It is obvious that Greeley did not do independent and substantial research on her own,” the lawsuit states. “Even worse, Greeley violated copyright laws by copying parts of [Kanasky’s] article word for word.
“This is not merely a case of similar writings that might constitute copyright infringement,” Dallas lawyer Rogge Dunn, who represents CSI, states in the lawsuit. “This is a case blatant and intentional plagiarism where numerous words, phrases and entire sentences were copied.”
Dunn points to one specific paragraph in the DecisionQuest document in which 90 of the 108 words are exactly the same as those from the CSI paper.
“This is not case of copying for educational use or for purely academic purposes,” Dunn states in the complaint. “This infringement was designed for commercial gain.”
The DecisionQuest document, which is posted on the ABA’s website, does include the paragraph that appears to be copied from the CSI document without direct attribution.
But a review of the DecisionQuest document by The Texas Lawbook, also shows that Greeley cited Kanasky four times in the article and three more times in the list of references.
DecisionQuest officials did not respond to a request for comment.