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Evidence
Villanova University School of Law
Gafni, Abraham J.

EVIDENCE OUTLINE – read thru hypos in PAH

Relevance

Types:

§ Logical Relevance – evidence that has any tendency to make a material fact more or less probable than it would be without

MBE – worry about this when you see some other time/some other person/some other event than the one directly involved in litigation – could be too remote

§ Discretionary/Pragmatic/Policy – relevant evidence can be excluded if probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of:

Unfair prejudice
Confusion of issues
Misleading the jury
Undue delay
Waste of time
Cumulative evidence

MBE – unfair surprise is not a ground for exclusion of relevant evidence

Recurring Patterns

Logical Relevance –

· Similar Occurrences – does include some other time/person or event but is still relevant

Causation – to prove cause/effect

Ex: π eats at Δ restaurant and gets sick, so enters evidence of others getting sick – AD

Prior Accidents/Claims

Ex: π drives into bridge and sues city & city wants to show π has driven into other stationary objects and sued – INAD
Exceptions:

Show common plan/scheme of fraud
Prior accident is relevant on the issue of damage to the π

Same part of body as prior

Prior accidents involving the same instrumentality under the same/similar circumstances

Ex: same car keeps blowing up

o Intent/State of Mind is at Issue – to infer intent from prior conduct – AD
o Evidence to rebut defense of impossibility – opens door for your evidence – AD

MBE – when see a Δ say it’s impossible that it happened that way for whatever reason

If it happens again at some other time, would still be admissible

o Comparable Sales – use to show value of your chattel by other chattels if

Chattels of the same general descriptions
Other sales took place at about the same relevant time period
Other sales took place in the same general geographic area

o Habit Evidence – habit of a person to act in a certain way is relevant to show that person acted in the same way on the occasion in question – AD

What is “habit”?

Must be specific, detailed conduct
Recurrent action – must be often

MBE – look for language “always”, “

ing while fixing stairs

2) Rebut/Impeach – show feasibility of precautionary measure when feasibility controverted

Ex: Δ says couldn’t make product safer and π can say a remedial measure after π’s accident fixed it

Settlements – INAD to prove fault/liability/damages

Includes:

Actual compromises
Offers to compromise (liability/amount)
Offers to plead guilty in criminal cases
Withdrawn guilty pleas
Pleas of nolo contendere

Admissions of fact/liability/damage made as part of offer to settle for liability/amount are INAD
Limitations –

1) Must be a claim – don’t need litigation

Statements made before the claim existed are AD

2) Must be a dispute as to amount or liability
3) Offer to pay medical expenses – INAD

Admissions of fact accompanying the offer are AD