NEC-ISA Event - The Use and Abuse of Logical Fallacies in Tree-Related Litigation

2:00 5:00pm (EDT)

This is an online event

Logical fallacies are statements of fact that contain errors in reasoning. When provided as an opinion, they often lack the necessary context, rendering the opinion suspect. Logical fallacies may be an intentional instrument to present a specific argument, such as in a debate, or may stem from a less than full understanding of the topic. Several dozen types of logical fallacies exist. A few of these types can be present in tree-related litigation. The ability to identify and challenge logical fallacies is critical. Unchallenged, the fallacy can become a fact for the purposes of litigation. They also tend to misrepresent an organization or company’s program. This course will review the use of logical fallacies in tree-related litigation and how to identify and counter their logic.

$25 Member | $60 Non-members (Includes 1-year chapter membership)

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The linkage between litigation and risk management is that many tree-related litigation and conflicts minimize the concepts of risk.  It is not an uncommon feature in litigation where the details are discussed in absolute terms.  For example..."The tree had a defect, you should have done something".  This is a very linear approach that misrepresents how risk is understood and managed.  Logical fallacies are often the tool used to convey this linear progression.  A logical fallacy is a statement that on its face may appear true, but when context is provided often ends up being false.  Unchallenged, they become fact.  The course is about identifying a logical fallacy when they present themselves and arguments to counter them.  Litigation is the easy example, but they also appear when there are opposing views on a tree issue...such as a development project or even arguments about removing a tree.

There are over seventy logical fallacies.  This presentation focuses on the twelve that commonly occur in litigation.  A recent case will serve as a case study for the course where all twelve logical fallacies made an appearance by the plaintiff.  On the strength of counter arguments in this particular case, the plaintiff's attorneys asked to settle the next day.  The conclusion of the course really focuses on how practitioners should be mindful of not relying on them, regardless of who the client is, and support our opinions more effectively.

About the Instructor: Mark Duntemann has been in the business for over thirty years.  During the last ten years, about 50% of his work is in tree-related litigation, mostly fatalities.   The other 50% is developing system-level tree risk management policies for companies and government organizations.  This work includes West Coast Arborists, Yale, the New York Botanic Garden, Central Park, Singapore, Bogota Milan and Hong Kong.  He speaks internationally on the topic and has refined his understanding of risk management through post-grad courses at Harvard and Boston University.  Additionally, he is working on two books on the topic.  One for an Italian publisher and the second for an English language publisher.