Opinion Date: March 7, 2022
Judge: Tani Cantil-Sakauye
Areas of Law: Personal Injury, Products Liability
This case law update is brought to you by Freeway Law auto accident and personal injury lawyers in Orange County. The following is not one of our cases, but it is of some significance, and we thought we should share it with our readers for informational purposes. The information above is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court granting a writ of mandate directing the trial court to issue a new order denying Ford Motor Company’s motion to exclude all of Plaintiff’s proffered deposition testimony, holding that the court of appeal erroneously construed Wahlgren as establishing a categorical bar to admitted deposition testimony under Cal. Evid. Code 1291(a)(2).
Plaintiff, a putative member of a federal multidistrict class-action suit against Ford arising from the diesel engine used in some of Ford’s vehicles, opted out of a federal suit to pursue his own lawsuit. Plaintiff filed ten designations of deposition testimony listing the depositions of nine out-of-state Ford employees or former employees who had given deposition testimony in the federal action or in subsequent related California opt-out litigation that Plaintiff proposed to introduce at trial. Ford moved to exclude the proffered testimony, which the trial court granted. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the appellate court’s analysis was incompatible with (1) the established principle that the party proposing to introduce evidence under section 1291(a)(2)’s former testimony exception to the hearsay rule bears the burden of establishing the requirements for admission; and (2) the Legislature’s official comment reflecting its understanding when it enacted the provision at issue as part of the Evidence Code in 1965.