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Last Updated September 12, 2023

Second Annual Nuclear Verdicts Defense Institute Celebrates 2023 Graduates: Tyson & Mendes Trains Attorneys in Its Innovative Methods for Defending Against Outsized Jury Awards

SAN DIEGO (June 12, 2023) – Nationwide civil litigation and insurance defense firm Tyson & Mendes LLP announced today the conclusion of its second annual Nuclear Verdicts Defense Institute, the only advanced trial academy in the country designed specifically for the defense bar.

Held this year June 8-11, 2023, at the InterContinental San Diego, the Nuclear Verdicts Defense Institute is an immersive, four-day trial academy uniquely developed to teach defense attorneys the innovative Tyson & Mendes methods for stopping Nuclear Verdicts® – large, unsubstantiated jury awards that typically exceed $10 million.  Tyson & Mendes is the only defense firm in America that trains other defense lawyers.

Through a psychology workshop focused on anger, expert panel discussions, small group activities, and demonstrations, attendees – all defense trial attorneys ranging in experience levels, firm sizes, and locations – practiced and learned advanced trial strategies for defusing juror anger—the primary driver of Nuclear Verdicts®–fighting the plaintiff’s bar’s evolving tactics, and driving down damages based on the strategies first set forth in the #1 best-selling book, “Nuclear Verdicts®: Defending Justice for All.” Upon graduating, each attorney received accreditation as a Nuclear Verdicts Defender, certified in the methods for defending against Nuclear Verdicts®.

“It was the most significant program of any type that I’ve attended.  I’ve taken away actual techniques that I will use in trial.  Encountering something that was new, creative, and immediately useful in my practice was a game changer.” – Michael Kelly, 2023 Nuclear Verdict Defender

According to Robert Tyson, Strategic Managing Partner of Tyson & Mendes, the Institute is a vital training tool for the defense industry to combat rising social inflation and the evolving tactics employed by plaintiffs’ attorneys intended to incite juror anger and drive up damage awards.

“The plaintiff’s bar has collaborated for decades, holding educational retreats, studying juror psychology, and continuously morphing trial tactics to secure astronomical civil jury verdicts, while the defense bar has remained stagnant,” said Tyson. “The Nuclear Verdicts Defense Institute is just one way our firm is working to increase collaboration and communication across the defense industry by equipping attorneys–from competing firms!–with strategies to go head-to-head with evolving plaintiff’s bar tactics.”

Led by an esteemed faculty of legal defense experts, featured speakers at the Institute included:

Tyson, a noted trial attorney and author of “Nuclear Verdicts®: Defending Justice for All.” With a goal of minimizing astronomical jury verdicts, Tyson is keenly focused on sharing his successful trial methods with the insurance and defense industries. He is especially known for his groundbreaking work on Howell v. Hamilton Meats, a reverberating decision that set the stage to save insurers and corporate defendants over $10 billion each year – reshaping personal injury litigation across California.

Jennifer Staples, Ph.D., an associate professor and associate director of clinical training at Alliant International University, and a licensed clinical psychologist with an emphasis on social justice advocacy. Staples is an expert in psychology, particularly in understanding tactics that both incite and defuse anger. Her expertise helps attendees understand how to apply these strategies in a trial setting to combat plaintiffs’ attorneys’ efforts to drive up damage awards through juror anger – which is proven to be the number one emotional motivator of a nuclear verdict.

The faculty also included Tyson & Mendes Partners Lynn Allen, Kristi Blackwell, Daniel Fallon, Allison Lawrence, and Cayce Lynch, and Senior Counsel, Director of Client Relations Ashley Fetyko.

“As an experienced attorney, I found it very valuable. There’s a real bias in the profession amongst experienced litigators that, ‘I already know what I’m doing, I don’t have anything to learn,’ but there were valuable tools here; a lot to take away.” – Jim Jarrow, 2023 Nuclear Verdict Defender

By graduating from the Nuclear Verdicts Defense Institute and becoming an accredited Nuclear Verdicts Defender, attendees now have the critical skills needed to achieve justice for all. Attendees learned not only what the most effective methods are but most importantly how to employ them at trial.

The third annual Nuclear Verdicts Defense Institute is tentatively scheduled for summer 2024, with an option to take the event directly to in-house legal teams for a personalized training. For more information and to subscribe to receive updates, visit


About the Nuclear Verdicts Defense Institute

Based on the principles in the best-selling book, Nuclear Verdicts®: Defending Justice for All, the Nuclear Verdicts Defense Institute is the only trial academy developed to teach defense attorneys how to stop Nuclear Verdicts® – large, unsubstantiated jury awards that typically exceed $10 million. Through psychology workshops, expert panel discussions, small group activities and demonstrations, attendees practice and learn advanced trial skills for defusing juror anger and defending against astronomical jury verdicts. At its conclusion, each attendee receives certification as a Nuclear Verdicts Defender, an accreditation endorsed by University of San Diego School of Law’s Office of Graduate Programs. The Institute is hosted by nationwide civil litigation and insurance defense law firm Tyson & Mendes LLP. For more information, visit


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Ashley Bendas / Jean Walcher, J. Walcher Communications /, 619-295-7140