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Evidence of plaintiff’s poverty inadmissible to prove alleged motive to falsify claim. Written expert reports are generally inadmissible at trial, but other items within reports may be admissible under the Rules.

April 1, 2017
Bangs v. Follin, No. K15C-05-008 JJC, 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 19 (Del. Super. Ct. Jan. 13, 2017)

The plaintiff, a former tenant of the defendants, claimed that he fell through a hole in their rental property. The defendants claimed he falsified his injury to receive compensation and because of the parties’ disagreements. The plaintiff moved to exclude evidence of his poverty at trial and to exclude the defendants’ written expert reports (in favor of expert testimony instead). The court held that evidence of the plaintiff’s economic status offered to prove his alleged motive to file suit was, at most, “marginally relevant to any fact of consequence.” Also, any relevance was substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice to the plaintiff. The court reserved decision regarding the admissibility of evidence offered to prove the parties’ disputes. Finally, the court held that, while the defendants’ written expert reports may be used to refresh a witness’ recollection, the reports themselves were inadmissible at trial.


Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2017

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