Archive - June 2015

Trial Evidence Limitations Imposed on Request for Admission Denials

Trial Evidence Limitations Imposed on Request for Admission Denials

By: Craig A. Roeb and Grace A. Nguyen
Published in Verdict Magazine – Download Article
June 10, 2015

In a matter of first impression in California, an appellate court has concluded that a party to litigation cannot use another party’s denial of Request for Admissions as impeachment at trial. On January 13, 2015, in Gonsalves v. Li, 2015 WL164606, the First District Court of Appeal overturned a $1.2 million jury verdict after the plaintiff’s attorney repeatedly examined the defendant over his denials of admission requests that had been propounded in the case.

In Gonsalves, plaintiff, Kenneth Gonsalves, worked as a sales consultant at a BMW dealership.  He filed an action against Ran Li and Xiaoming Li after Ran Li lost control of a BMW that he was test-driving, with Gonsalves and Xiaoming Li as passengers. After Ran Li turned onto a freeway on-ramp, he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to spin into a guardrail.  Gonsalves sued Ran Li for motor vehicle negligence, and sued Ran’s father, Xiaoming Li, for negligent supervision.  Xiaoming was later dismissed from the action. 

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