QWhat is the relevance standard for admissibility under the Federal Rules?
AEvidence is relevant if it has any tendency to make more or less likely the existence of any fact of consequence to the determination of the action. Basically, all evidence that has anything to do with the operative facts of the case is relevant. Relevance is the threshold question for admissibility – irrelevant evidence is not admissible.
QGenerally, when is relevant evidence inadmissible?
ARelevant evidence is inadmissible if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, undue delay, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
QAttorney Kevin seeks to introduce evidence that was not disclosed to opposing counsel Leon during discovery. Leon objects to the evidence on the grounds that the prejudice of the unfair surprise substantially outweighs its probative value. What result?
AObjection overruled. Unfair surprise is never a ground for exclusion of evidence. Although in this situation it is possible that the evidence would be excluded, it would be as a penalty under the rules of discovery, not the rules of evidence.
QIn a products liability action, the plaintiff seeks to introduce evidence that shortly after the accident in question, the defendant manufacturer changed the design of the product in such a way that would prevent similar accidents from happening. Plaintiff argues that the evidence is relevant because he is seeking to prove that the product had a defective design. Is the evidence admissible?
ANo. Evidence of subsequent remedial measures is inadmissible to show negligence or product defects. Even though it seems that evidence of repairing a sidewalk where someone fell, adding a sign to alert someone to a danger or changing the design of a product is relevant, it is all inadmissible. The rule is designed to encourage remedial measures – without the rule defendants might not repair due to the fear that such evidence will be introduced against them.
QPlaintiff, in a slip and fall case arising from a fall in a mall parking lot, seeks to introduce evidence that the defendant, The Mall, has repaved the parking lot after he fell. The Mall has argued that the parking lot is leased by a different company, and therefore The Mall is not responsible for the conditions there. Is the evidence of the repaving admissible?
AYes. Evidence of remedial measures is admissible to prove things other than negligence or product defects. Remedial measures are admissible to prove (1) ownership, control, or feasibility of alternate designs, if those issues are in controversy, or (2) for impeachment. In this case whether The Mall had ownership or control over the parking lot is in dispute, so the evidence of repaving is admissible to show ownership or control.

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