The Domino Theory

Edward P. Capozzi
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In The Domino Theory, each part of your case is a domino—one step in a cause-and-effect cascade. New Jersey Law Journal Hall of Fame Award winner Edward Capozzi shows you how to successfully demonstrate any case to a jury. He demonstrates, step-by-step, how to set up each element from discovery and settlement to opening statement and arguing damages in closing—when you knock down your dominos and demonstrate the inevitable logic of your case.

Capozzi presents a robust framework for practicing trial law, effectively humanizing and individualizing each case, and arguing engagingly to build credibility and keep the jury invested in your case. With discussions and examples covering soft-tissue injury, auto accident, medical malpractice, and premises liability cases, Capozzi provides a robust and detailed method for obtaining just settlements and winning verdicts for your clients. This text includes a thorough discussion of how to demonstrate proximate cause; prove permanence in soft-tissue injury cases; and present your case to the jury, the defense, and the court in a way that maximizes your ability to obtain justice for your clients.

  1. Introduction
  2. You
  3. Your Client
  4. Customize the Case
  5. Collecting the Dominos
  6. Interrogatories
  7. Depositions
  8. Defense Medical Exams
  9. Settlement and Mediation Packages
  10. The Pretrial Exchange
  11. Going to Trial
  12. Opening Statement
  13. Discussing the Accident and Treatment in Opening Statement
  14. The Elements
  15. A Preponderance of the Evidence
  16. Common Soft-Tissue Injuries
  17. The Diagnosis
  18. Soldiers and Tanks
  19. Damages in Opening Statement
  20. Proving the Plaintiff’s Case
  21. Direct Examination of the Plaintiff
  22. Direct Examination of the Plaintiff’s Physicians
  23. Objective Medical Evidence
  24. Preparing to Cross-Examine the Defense Medical Expert
  25. Cross Examining the Defense Medical Expert’s Qualifications
  26. A Reasonable Degree of Medical Probability: Cross-Examining Defense Medical Experts
  27. The Collateral Attack: Cross-Examining Defense Medical Experts
  28. Cross-Examination of a Defense Dentist
  29. Cross-Examining Medical Experts with the Literature
  30. Summation
  31. Picasso and Damages
  32. Disproving the Defendant’s Case
  33. Domino Theory Demonstration One: Auto Accident
  34. Domino Theory Demonstration Two: Premises Liability
  35. Domino Theory Demonstration Three: Proving Proximate Cause of Lost Wages
  36. The Agony of Defeat
  37. Appendix
  38. Acknowledgements
  39. About the Author

Additional Information


Publisher Trial Guides, LLC
Paperback 348 pages; 1st Edition (November 2016); ISBN: 978-1941007433
  1. Ed Capozzi found an ingenious way to drain the verbal swamp of proximate cause and make the concept as clear and easy for the jury as a row of falling dominos. The proof of its merit is that it seems so obvious in hindsight. I said to myself, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’—the mark of a really good idea.
    —Patrick Malone, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, coauthor of Rules of the Road, author of The Fearless Cross-Examiner
  2. An engaging book about proximate cause. With The Domino Theory, Ed Capozzi gives you tips and insight on how to come up with bold strategies for demonstrating this confusing jury issue
    —Rodney Jew, litigation strategist
  3. Too many well-tried plaintiff cases have been lost because of juror confusion over what proximate cause means. With brilliant simplicity, Ed Capozzi presents an intuitive and logical approach that allows jurors to hear and see how the accident cause connects to the injury evidence, enabling them to ‘get it.’

    And the book is something far more than that. It is a plaintiff lawyer’s roadmap to success. Ed takes the reader through a methodology that, if followed faithfully, will bring success beyond imagination. I have been trying personal injury cases for forty-two years, and Ed brings a rarely encountered wisdom to so-called ‘garden variety’ soft-tissue cases. Once you adopt and practice the domino theory, you will never ever call a soft-tissue case ‘garden variety’ again, and nor will your adversaries.
    —Michael Maggiano, past president of the New Jersey Association for Justice and the Melvin Belli Society, member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers
  4. Ed Capozzi’s The Domino Theory is the ultimate set of builders’ plans and specifications on how to prevail on the most vital issues in every personal injury case. It is a masterpiece of winning advocacy. This book will help every plaintiff’s attorney maximize the result for his or her client. It is such a fun and interesting read. Every lawyer in our firm will have this book—it is a practitioner’s manual on how to get it done! Ed’s writing makes for such a practical and easy-to-understand guidebook on practices, steps, principles, and more. The chapter-by-chapter “Takeaways” are steppingstones to victory. This book is a must for every trial lawyer’s library!
    —John Romano, past president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, and the National Trial Lawyers Association

11 reviews for The Domino Theory

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Glenn Slavin

    This book is for plaintiff’s trial lawyers. Ed Capozzi takes us on an amazing journey of strategy & story. He explains how & why it works. He explains “jury connection” which is what separates favorable verdicts from no causes. At twice the price it belongs in your brief bag…only if your interested in winning.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Adam Lederman

    The Domino Theory is an A+. Ed is one of NJ’s finest trial lawyers and this is how he does it. His strategy is easy to learn (using the book) and he uses real world examples to show the reader exactly how it’s done. If you’re a Plaintiffs trial lawyer, this is a must read.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Wade Suthard

    Ed’s a great guy and awesome lawyer who gets top notch results for his clients. His passion for trial work is evident in every page. I’ve been practicing 27 years and I put a few of the strategies from this book into my practice immediately. Great book.

  4. Rated 4 out of 5

    Walter Faust

    A very good book which is easy to read and digest. The author masterfully dumbs down the most important concepts, giving insights and underscoring on how to effectively communicate with a jury. The book is one which might be turned to again and again.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Corey Dietz

    Must read for all plaintiff’s lawyers. It’s a guidebook for proven results in only a way Ed Capozzi could do it. Highly recommended.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Eugene Wishnic

    This book is a must own for any plaintiff’s trial attorney. If you haven’t had the good fortune of observing Ed Capozzi on trial in the flesh (which I strongly recommend if at all possible), this book is the next best thing. From intake to discovery and through trial, Ed takes you through his step by step method to proving your client’s case and disproving the defense’s case. I’ve read the book cover to cover twice and refer back to it before each trial.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Paul da Costa

    This book is a requirement on every trial lawyer’s book shelf. Ed’s approach to causation enables you to easily and credibly connect with the jury. The dominoes theory is to proximate cause what rules of the road is to liability/standard of care.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Marvin Walden

    This book is the real deal. If you want to learn how to try a case from a master trial attorney this is the one book you must read. I keep it on my desk at all times as a reference book just to stay sharp. An easy read and one I believed all new and experienced attorneys should read.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Mike Ferrara

    As all trial lawyers know, jurors cannot comprehend what proximate cause means. Does it mean approximate? Close? Some states have banned the term and use the better term of “legal cause”. In the meantime, buy Ed’s book and learn how to lay out proximate cause cold in terms every juror will understand. Having tried a case with Ed, and having watched him argue an important case before our Supreme Court, I can tell you that he knows what he’s doing. This will be money well spent. I guarantee it.

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Chris O’Connell

    Having tried cases against Ed to verdict, I’ve seen first hand the success of the methods he shares in this book. Whether plaintiff or defense, every trial lawyer can learn much from his instruction and insight.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Raymond Grimes

    I have used Ed’s dominos at trial with great success. Especially on verbal threshold cases. I have been doing this work for 30 years and have gone to numerous seminars over the years because I realize that I don’t know what I don’t know and there’s always something else to learn. I have watched Ed numerous times share his creativity and strategy with all of the other members of the bar that choose to participate and learn something. Ed is a master at what he does. This book not only shows young attorneys how to do it the right way, but also teaches us old guys some new tricks. I had a trial starting within a week and I started reading his book at 7 p.m. and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. You like to think you know everything after 30 years, but you don’t. You need to read Ed’s book! Thanks Ed.

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