The Power Of Animations Outside The Movie Theater


By: Matthew Jones

The use of animations in the courtroom is becoming more and more popular given the ruling in the case People v. Duenas (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1. The Duenas court equated animations to demonstrative evidence, specifically stating “a computer animation is demonstrative evidence offered to help a jury understand expert testimony or other substantive evidence…” The basis for this ruling is that animations do not draw conclusions and are not exact simulations of the subject accident being portrayed. To the contrary, animations are an attempt to recreate a scene or process based on the evidence presented.
Animations can be a powerful tool during trial to provide a visual aid to the jury of an expert’s opinion on an issue or just to offer a visual observation of how the subject accident occurred. For proper use of the animation, the Duenas court identified instructions that should be presented to the jury. The scope of these instructions are that the animation is not a film of what actually occurred or an exact re-creation of the subject accident, and that the animation is simply a guide as to the party’s version of events based upon interpretation of the evidence.
FMG’s in-house litigation team has utilized numerous animations over the years with great success, including a recent wrongful death action in Los Angeles County. Liability was hotly contested and Plaintiffs demanded over $15 million at trial. The jury came back with a defense verdict in only forty-five minutes.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Matthew Jones at