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Fuentes v. Tucker

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Tucker claimed that evidence introduced by Fuentes was made in error because Tucker already admitted to causing the death of the two victims.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Evidence admitted to the court must be in controversy for the purposes of trial and any issue that is admitted in the answer to a complaint cannot be used as evidence.

    Facts.

    The Fuenteses filed suit against Tucker for hitting and killing their two sons with a motor vehicle. Tucker filed an answer admitting to the accident and the death of the Fuentes boys. The Fuenteses offered evidence regarding the accident itself and Tucker argued that this evidence was introduced in error because Tucker previously admitted fault to the accident and the death of the two victims.

    Issue.

    Whether a party may use evidence that was already admitted to as an answer to a complaint?

    Held.

    No. Because Tucker admitted to causing the accident as well as the death of the two children, any evidence surrounding the accident is not in controversy. The only relevant evidence to be introduced by the plaintiffs is evidence regarding damages. The holding, however, is affirmed because the jury did not weigh too heavily on the evidence regarding the accident in their determination of damages.

    Concurrence.

    (Carter, J.) Preventing a plaintiff from introducing evidence that was already admitted to by the defendant deprives the jury from understanding the larger picture of the circumstances that surround the claim.

    Discussion.

    A party is not allotted to submit evidence that was resolved through pleadings. Any evidence that is admitted at trial should address issues that are in controversy. If a defendant has admitted to an allegation in his answer, then the plaintiff cannot introduce evidence regarding that allegation.


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