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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Evidence of Liability Insurance Allowed to Show Bias of Defense Expert; Held Not Unfairly Prejudicial

The Mississippi Court of Appeals held last month that evidence of liability insurance was admissible to show the bias of a defense expert under Mississippi's Rule 411 of Evidence. The case is Wells v. Tucker, No. 2006-CA-00385-COA (Miss. Ct. App. Sept. 4, 2007).

Here's the link:

I will check the status of this case tomorrow (i.e., if it was appealed to Mississippi Supreme Court). At the time of this post, it was too late to do that.

I know, a lot of you are thinking: "So what! That's one of the exceptions to Rule 411's exclusion of insurance." And you are exactly right. However, even if one of the Rule 411 exceptions are met (e.g., proof of agency, ownership, control, or bias or prejudice of a witness), some courts still exclude this information as being unfairly prejudicial under Rule 403. See generally Patton v. Rose, 892 S.W.2d 418 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1991).

The Wells case holds that this information is not unfairly prejudicial and allows it into evidence.

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