Brief Fact Summary. The Appellant, Irene Simon (the “Appellant”), fell and broke her hip on a sidewalk in the Appellee town, Kennebunkport (the “Appellee”). The Appellant sued the Appellee, alleging the sidewalk was defective. The Appellant attempted to offer evidence of prior falls at the same location, but the trial court did not allow it.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Other incidents similar to the one causing injury may be admissible as long as the probative value outweighs the danger of unfair prejudice or confusion of the issues, or undue delay.
These facts were all collateral to the main issue, and should have been excluded, and the reason is, that such evidence tends to draw away the minds of the jury from the point in issue, and to excite prejudice and mislead them; and, moreover, the adverse party, having no notice of such a course of evidence, is not prepared to rebut it.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Should the evidence of similar falls at the same location be admissible?
Held. Justice Glassman issued the opinion of the Court reversing the trial court, and finding the evidence should have been admitted.
Discussion. The evidence the Appellant wanted to offer was substantially similar to the circumstances surrounding the Appellee’s fall. Further, the evidence is probative on the material issue of whether the sidewalk was defective.