Kerry Lewis v. Boy Scouts of America

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Sexual Abuse Case, Six Week Jury Trial — $20 Million Jury Verdict

The Kerry Lewis v. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) case received a great deal of national attention in April of 2010, and resulted in the largest verdict ever against the organization. Much of the trial hinged on a vast repository of ‘perversion files’ that the BSA had been collecting and concealing since the early 1900s, when the earliest reports were recorded with the intention of keeping predators out of the organization. When their methods failed for keeping such predators out, the files essentially became an extensive record of abuses and cover-ups. The Kerry Lewis case represented the first time these perversion files were used in trial.

The Boy Scouts of America have fought hard over the years to keep the files private and out of the public domain. Even after the verdict came out the files were not turned over to the press, causing the Associated Press, the Oregonian and other news outlets to sue for access to the files.

By Design managed the trial technology and trial graphics for the case, building a cohesive narrative from more than 1,200 diverse files. Faced with such a daunting volume of information, the client gave By Design a great deal of authority over which trial graphics to make.

During the trial By Design was called upon to help refine the opening statement, consult with the lead attorneys, convince the jury that BSA had the funds to sustain $25 million in punitive damages and select photographic evidence for maximum rhetorical impact. Overall, By Design produced 50 graphic elements, of which 20 were used at trial.

Winning this case proved to be a special moment for By Design given how meaningful every bit of exposure and transparency was for the kids — many of them now adults — who were affected.

Clients: O’Donnell Clark & Crew LLP and Paul Mones Attorney