B.A. v. Webb

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 10-24-2012
  • Case #: A140608
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton, C. J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Duncan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under OEC 403, a witness may not comment on the credibility of another witness and a diagnosis of sexual abuse without any physical evidence is not admissible.

Webb appealed the judgment against him granting B.A. monetary damages for the intentional torts of sexual battery of a child and intentional infliction of severe emotional distress. The trial court allowed two expert witnesses to vouch for B.A.'s credibility. Furthermore, the trial court allowed the expert witnesses to provide a diagnoses of child sexual abuse without any corroborating physical evidence. Webb argued that vouching is proscribed by the precedent found in Middleton and Milbradt. The Court of Appeals agreed and found that OEC 403 prohibits a diagnosis of sexual abuse because the "marginal" value of the diagnoses is outweighed by the risk of prejudice to the defendant, and was therefore reversible error. Although Webb's assignments of error were not preserved, the Court chose to exercise its discretion to correct the errors. Reversed and remanded.

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