The post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy translates into "after this, therefore this." Here's a good joke to show you what I mean.
A 30 year old Gentile man falls in love with a nice Jewish girl and wants to marry her. She says that in order to marry her he must get circumcised. So the man goes to a Jewish friend and asks him if the circumcision has any negative side effects. The Jewish man says, "Well, I was only eight weeks old when I had mine, so I can't remember if it hurt. But I do know that afterwards I couldn't walk for a year!"
The burden of proof in a civil court is to prove that the defendant's actions were the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries and the actions were more probable than not. In other words, all of plaintiff has to prove is that the defendant could have seen that his actions would probably hurt someone. In the movie, Civil Action, attorney Jan Schichtmann can prove the relationship between the dumping of toxic chemical, TCE, into the water in Woburn, Massacuhetts, with this probablity. In a strawman fallacy, a new fiction novel by John Grisham, The Appeal, illustrates how the courts can be influenced by special interest groups.
My law teacher used to say that everyone has a gut feeling for the truth. That's why judges say, "All evidence is evidence including what the jury believes." This feeling is why attorneys are given preemptive challenges to a juror. So much of law relies on gut feelings. That's why jurors are not allowed to take notes during testimony. Given the casual relationship among cause and effect and how juries process testimony, is it any wonder why there are the Stella Awards?