Can You Use Evidence of Repairs Made After the Fact?

ThinkstockPhotos-481130954Based on public policy considerations, some types of potentially relevant evidence can’t be used at trial. One example is subsequent remedial or precautionary measures taken after an accident or other event, which, if it had been done before the event, would have tended to make it less likely to happen. Evid C §1151. Repairs and fixes can’t be used against a defendant unless it fits within an exception to the rule. Continue reading

Lost on a Motion in Limine? Make Your Record!

The basic rule is that, if you don’t make a timely objection before or when objectionable matters are mentioned or introduced, you may not be able to raise the issue on appeal. See Evid C §353. Accordingly, if you don’t ensure that a proper record is made of any adverse ruling to a motion in limine, you may just have lost a ground for appeal. Here’s how to preserve the ground for appeal when you’re on the losing end of a motion in limine. Continue reading

Need to Protect Trade Secrets in Litigation? There’s a Privilege for That

Trade secrets are not necessarily outed in litigation. There’s a conditional privilege that protects owners of trade secrets from being forced to spill their secrets. Continue reading

A Photo Is Still a Photo, Even on Social Media

ThinkstockPhotos-503803495A recent case made headlines simply because it involved Instagram. Don’t be fooled by the hype—new technologies don’t always require new law. A photo is a photo regardless of where it appears, and its admissibility is based on the same law whether it’s a photo taken on a camera or one posted on the hottest new social media website. Continue reading

What’s NOT Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege?

The attorney-client privilege (Evid C §§950–962) protects a client from disclosure of confidential communications between attorney and client. But not every communication between attorney and client is protected. Do you know what’s not covered? Continue reading

Demonstrative Evidence: When You Want to Show and Tell

82770181An episode of This American Life described the failed effort to get a Tic-tac-toe-playing chicken into evidence in the death penalty case of a mentally ill man with a very low IQ. Defense counsel was trying to rebut a psychiatrist’s testimony that the defendant was aware he was going to be executed based on his beating her in a game of Tic-tac-toe. We’ll never know who would have won the game; the court refused to admit the chicken because it “would degrade the dignity of the court.” Although the chicken didn’t work out, demonstrative evidence can be a very powerful courtroom tool. Continue reading

Inadmissible Evidence May Still Get In for a Limited Purpose

78494947It may not be favored by courts or be the parties’ preference, but there’s a place for evidence to be admitted for a limited purpose. It can be seen as either a creative solution to an evidence admissibility problem or a way around the rules, depending on your perspective. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: