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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
Attorney • (800) 770-7008

The Reasonable Person Standard

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In law we are often confronted with proving what the reasonable person would do. It is a way to separate what really happened and run them through what should have happened. How the defendant and the plaintiff should have acted. It’s a standard to make sure that we know what is expected and can make sure the law is consistent.

But who is the reasonable person? A question asked in law school and answered with varied success. It’s the question that we expect judges to weight in summery judgment motions. Finally, the standard we request juries to weigh the evidence against.

I found it interesting that National Geographic has been looking at what the typical human being is. The video they produced is informative:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B2xOvKFFz4

The results were :

the most typical person is a 28-year-old Han Chinese Male.

Other traits that the typical person has:

* They are right handed
* They make less than $12,000 a year
* Has a cell phone but no bank account

As the video points out, the typical is changing. The expectations are that the typical person will be from India and much shorter in the near future.

This all made me wonder about the reasonable person standard. Is that also a standard that is relative? Is the reasonable person from my days in law school different than the person today? How much has immigration, political change , and technology changed the standard? Is tort reform a product of the changing of the standard or the abuse of the standard?

It’s all something that needs to be considered as we look at each jury. More importantly, it’s the issue that needs to be addressed to make sure that we are addressing and communicating with today’s ever changing jurors. Yet another example of why you need to ask your potential lawyer about how much time they are actually spending in court.