Defendant In Sacramento Car Accident Case Fights Use Of Plaintiff’s War Hero Status, Part 5 of 6

The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

Evidence Code §352 allows a Court to exclude otherwise relevant evidence where there is a substantial danger that the probative value of the inclusion of such evidence will be outweighed by the danger of undue prejudice. People v. Cardenas (1982) 31 Cal. 3d 897, 904. As the Court in Cardenas further explained, §352 provides grounds for excluding evidence that is inflammatory. 5 Id. at 906. Section 352 requires that the trial Judge to balance the probative value of the offered evidence in comparison to its potential of prejudice, undue consumption of time and confusion. Jefferson, Cal. Evidence Benchbook (1972) comments, §22.1, pg. 288.

The California Supreme Court elaborated on what undue prejudice connotes and explained such as evidence that carries with it a danger of evoking emotional bias against a defendant while offering little probative value. People v. Gionis (1995) 9 Cal. 4th 1196, 1214. Similarly, evidence that would confuse the issues or work to mislead the jury should be excluded pursuant to Section 352. People v. Milner (1988) 45 Cal. 3d 227, 238; Ehrhardt v. Brunswick, Inc. (1986) 186 Cal. App. 3d 734, 740.

In the instant case, self serving statements pertaining to plaintiff’s military service or any evidence that plaintiff was a war hero or any derivative thereof is pure character evidence being offered for the explicit purpose of evoking sympathy for plaintiff in the minds of the members of the jury.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Such evidence, even if slightly probative to the issues being litigated in this matter, is substantially outweighed by the prejudicial effect on the defendants – specifically the jury’s sympathy for plaintiff due to the self serving accolade that he was a war hero in determining the nature and extent of his damages stemming from the subject car accident on August 25, 2008. World War II is considered a popular war, and the fact that plaintiff claims to be a veteran may make him sympathetic for reasons that are merely emotional, having utterly nothing to do with the merits of the case. This is precisely the type of evidence that Section 352 was designed to exclude. (See Part 6 of 6.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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