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Travelers Insurance Co. v. Wright

    Brief Fact Summary. Two men were accused of burning down a property on which they later attempted to collect fire insurance.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order to introduce testimony from a former trial into a subsequent one there must be (1) an inability to obtain the testimony from the witness, (2) a previous opportunity to cross examine the witness, (3) similarity of issues, and (4) similarity of parties.

    Facts. Two men were accused of burning down a property on which they later attempted to collect fire insurance.

    Issue. Whether testimony gleaned at a criminal trial may later be used in a civil trial concerning the same transaction if the witnesses in question are no longer available?

    Held. Yes. As long as the requirements of the rule are met, the evidence may be admitted.

    Discussion. An important aspect of the test involved here is that the previous opportunity to cross examine must have been adequate. In this case, the previous criminal trial involved the same issues, and in fact the same point had to be proved in order for the adverse party to win in either case.


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