SW Legal studies in Business

Failure to Diligently Uncover Evidence Before Trial Prevents Later Complaint
Description

Appeals court refused to allow a new trial when a defendant provided evidence, after a trial, that it was told a witness was paid to testify and that the cause of an accident was not as claimed. Because defendant failed to diligently uncover the evidence before trial, it could not complain after.

Topic Court Procedure
Key Words

Witness; Testimony; Perjury; Due Diligence

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Odom suffered injuries in a fire and explosion at his apartment that he attributed to the gas company Entergy. The jury awarded Odom $11.5 million. After the trial, Entergy was contacted by a former co-worker of one of Odom’s witnesses who said that the witness may have committed perjury as he told him before the trial that he was offered a “large sum of money” for his testimony and that the gas explosion was the result of a failed suicide attempt by Odom. He provided a tape of the conversation in which this was discussed. Entergy moved to overturn the verdict or for a new trial. The court denied the motion. Entergy appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Entergy’s motions. Entergy failed to discover this evidence before trial, which it could have had it interviewed the co-worker before the trial. Due diligence would have uncovered possible testimony about a suicide attempt and false testimony by the witness. Since Entergy failed in its pre-trial preparation to interview possible witnesses, it cannot now complain.

Citation

Odom v. Phillips, ---So.2d--- (2008 WL 240272, Ct. App., La., 2008)

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