dadelstein@gmail.com

954-361-4720

Call Us For Free Consultation

Search

Photographic / Video Evidence Needs to be Relevant and Outweigh any Unfair Prejudice to the Opposing Party

During trial, a party may move to admit photographic evidence. The opposing party, however, may object based on either the relevancy of the evidence or, if relevant, that the probative value of the evidence is outweighed by the unfair prejudice to that party if the evidence is admitted. “The test for admissibility of photographic evidence is relevancy rather than necessity.” Pope. V. State, 679 So.2d 710, 713 (Fla. 1996) (photographs in murder trial were relevant to establish manner in which murder was committed and condition of crime scene). This same test applies to video evidence. See Zelaznik v. Isensee, 2014 WL 2596140...

Continue reading

Admissions Against a Party Are Admissible Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule

  Previously, I discussed the business records exception to the hearsay rule (of inadmissible evidence).  Another exception to the hearsay rule deals with admissions against party opponents.  This is an important exception to the hearsay rule that will apply in civil disputes so that a witness can testify about a statement made by a representative / employee of an opposing party without this statement being deemed inadmissible hearsay. This hearsay exception in Florida Statute s. 90.803(18) states that the following statements (admissions) are admissible: (18) Admissions.--A statement that is offered against a party and is: (a) The party's own statement in either an individual or a...

Continue reading

Importance of Laying the Appropriate Foundation for the Business Records Exception to the Hearsay Rule

As you can tell from prior postings, I love the business records exception to the hearsay rule because of its importance in civil disputes, particularly business disputes. Without the business records exception, many business records that are needed to prove a claim or defense  would be excluded as evidence under the hearsay rule. But, with the business records exception, these important records are admissible as long as a witness lays the appropriate foundation. The reason an appropriate foundation is required is to ensure the reliability or trustworthiness of the business records before deeming the records admissible evidence. The case of Bank...

Continue reading

Harmless Error and the “No Reasonable Possibility” Test

The terms “harmless error” and “reversible error” are well known terms in the trial and appellate world. In a nutshell, a harmless error is an error committed by the trial judge that does NOT impact the fairness of the trial; a reversible error is an error that does impact the fairness of the trial.  A party appealing a trial judge’s ruling (appellant) aims to establish that the trial judge’s ruling, etc. amounted to reversible error. The party responding to the appeal (appellee) aims to establish that there was no error, but if there was, it was harmless. If an error amounts to...

Continue reading

Proffers / Offers of Proof when Trial Judge Precludes Evidence or Testimony from being Introduced

What is an offer of proof or evidentiary proffer?  During trial there are times where the opposing party objects to a question (testimony) and/or the introduction of evidence. If the judge sustains (or agrees with) an objection, the witness is precluded from offering testimony in response to the question and/or the evidence is excluded and deemed inadmissible.   Ouch!!  When this happens, it is important for the party trying to offer the excluded testimony or evidence to make a proffer or offer of proof in furtherance of preserving this issue for appeal. The reason a proffer or offer of proof of...

Continue reading

Voir Dire and Reasonable Opportunity to Examine Prospective Jurors

Voir dire, as mentioned in prior postings, is a very important part of the jury trial process. Voir dire is when the parties have an opportunity to examine and question prospective jurors in the context of their theme and case in order to determine which six jurors (and alternate) should be sworn in on the jury panel. The objective behind voir dire is to ensure that parties have a fair and impartial jury for your case.Williams v. State, 424 So.2d 148 (Fla. 5th DCA 1982). The right of parties (and even the trial court) in civil dispute to engage in...

Continue reading

Application of the Business Records Exception to the Hearsay Rule

Hearsay (an out-of-court statement offered at trial for the truth of the matter asserted) is inadmissible at trial. But, there are exceptions to this exclusionary hearsay rule to allow such evidence / testimony to be admissible at trial. Previously, I wrote about one exception known as the business records exception contained in Florida Statute s. 90.803. The business records exception is commonly relied on in business disputes in order to admit business records as evidence.   What if there is an appeal concerning the admissibility of evidence introduced at trial under an exception to the hearsay rule?   Standard of Appellate Review   Whether evidence is...

Continue reading

Moving for a Directed Verdict and, then, a Motion to Set Aside the Verdict

  Moving for a directed verdict is a standard procedure in a jury trial.  Simply put, after the plaintiff puts on its case-in-chief (evidence supporting its claims against the defendant), the defendant moves for a directed verdict stating that even assuming all of the evidence is true and undisputed, and all inferences relating to that evidence favor the plaintiff, the plaintiff failed to prove its case as a matter of law and a jury cannot reasonably enter a verdict in favor of the plaintiff based on that evidence. See Wald v. Grainger, 64 So.3d 1201 (Fla. 2011); see also Etheredge v....

Continue reading

Expert Opinion Testimony and the Standard of Appellate Review

Previously, I discussed expert opinion testimony and the Daubert gatekeeping test employed by trial courts to determine the admissibility of the expert testimony. But, there is much more to expert opinion testimony.  An expert witness is NOT allowed to serve as a conduit for inadmissible hearsay so that a party is using an expert witness to simply get in testimony/evidence that is otherwise inadmissible. Doctors Co. v. State, Dept. of Ins., 940 So.2d 466, 470 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006) (“The rule is well established that if an expert is called merely as a conduit to place inadmissible evidence before the jury, the trial...

Continue reading

Expert Opinion Testimony and Understanding Daubert’s Gatekeeping Test

Expert opinion testimony is an important aspect of complex civil litigation. Expert testimony assists in proving or disproving liability and damages. A credible and persuasive expert can make the difference in a case and retaining experts, generating expert opinions, and the manner in which expert opinions are presented should not be taken lightly. Regarding expert testimony, Florida Statute s. 90.702 provides: “If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or in determining a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify about it in...

Continue reading
Contact Me Now

Prove YOUR Case!

Contact:

David Adelstein ♦

(954) 361-4720 ♦

dadelstein@gmail.com