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Monday, May 11, 2020

New Decision from the Tennessee Court of Appeals: Jury Verdict for Plaintiff Overturned Because Trial Court Erred in Prohibiting Psychologists from Testify on Behalf of the Defense and in Allowing Improper Evidence to Be Admitted

The Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion today in Ellis v. Modi, No. M2019-01161-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. May 11, 2020).  The slip opinion reads:
Following a jury trial, the plaintiff was awarded a substantial verdict against the defendant for both compensatory and punitive damages. After the defendant’s motion for a new trial was denied, he appealed to this Court. The defendant now argues, among other things, that the trial court erroneously excluded his expert psychologist from testifying at trial and, further, that the trial court erroneously allowed certain prejudicial evidence against him to be admitted. For the reasons stated herein, we vacate the jury’s verdict and the trial court’s judgment entered in this matter and remand the case for a new trial.
Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This opinion offers a good discussion of Rules 403 and 404(b) of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence.  It is a must read opinion for any lawyer who regularly practices in Tennessee state courts.

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