Dew v. Bay Area Health District

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 02-15-2012
  • Case #: A145619
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J., & Brewer, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Oregon Evidence Code 401, evidence is relevant if it has any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence. In this case, the exclusion of medical testimony could make any fact of consequence to the determination of the action more probable than without the evidence.

The personal representative for decedent Dew’s estate appealed a finding by the trial court that Dr. Tersigni's negligence did not cause Dew’s death because part defendant's testimony was excluded as irrelevant. On appeal, the Court of Appeals applied the legal standard for relevance, namely that relevance determinations are reviewed for errors of law. If evidence was relevant, the trial court cannot exclude it. The Court applied Oregon Evidence Code 401, which stated "if it has any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence." The Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred in not admitting defendant's testimony because it was relevant in this case. Reversed and remanded

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