Fact Witness Testimony Must be Based on Their Personal Knowledge

Posted by David Adelstein on August 29, 2015
Evidence

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Fact witnesses may only testify as to matters within their personal knowledge.   Fla.Stat. s. 90.604. “[A fact] witness is limited to testifying to facts that are within the witness’s knowledge rather than the witness’s speculation and conjecture.” A&A Electric Services, Inc. v. Jurado, 40 Fla.L.Weekly D1963a (Fla.2d DCA 2015).

For example, in Jurado, the plaintiff was testifying as to a document he signed and the principal of the defendant signed. In doing so, he testified as to the principal’s intent in signing the document. But, how did he know the principal’s intent? Wasn’t he merely speculating as to the principal’s intent? Of course he was. The Second District Court of Appeal held that while the plaintiff could testify as to the principal’s actions or statements made about signing the document, he was not competent to testify as to the principal’s actual intent in signing the document. Why? Because such testimony would not be based on the plaintiff’s personal knowledge, but solely on speculation. See also Roseman v. Town Square Ass’n, Inc., 810 So.2d 516, 521 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001) (trial court properly excluded testimony of witness that he suspected condominium residents were adjusting door at-issue [that caused plaintiff’s personal injury] because witness had no personal knowledge of this fact).

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.

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