United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
730 F.3d 701 (7th Cir. 2013)
John Baugh (plaintiff) was using a ladder manufactured by Cuprum S.A. de C.V. (Cuprum) (defendant) when the ladder collapsed. Baugh suffered a severe brain injury as a result. However, there were no eyewitnesses to the accident. Baugh’s wife brought suit against Cuprum on Baugh’s behalf. At trial, Baugh’s injury rendered him unable to testify. Cuprum sought to bring a replica of the collapsed ladder into the courtroom. Cuprum stated that the replica ladder would only be used for demonstrative purposes to explain expert testimony, and that it would not be substitutive evidence. The district court overruled Baugh’s objection to Cuprum’s use of the replica ladder on the ground that it was only demonstrative evidence. The district judge allowed the replica ladder to be displayed in the courtroom, but it was not admitted into evidence. During deliberations, the jury requested access to the replica ladder. Over Baugh’s objection, the judge permitted the replica ladder to be sent to the jury room. The judge instructed the jury that it could fully examine the replica ladder, but not reconstruct the accident. The jury found in favor of Cuprum. Baugh appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hamilton, J.)
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