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Conway v. Chemical Leaman Tank Lines, Inc.

540 F.2d 837 (1976)

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Conway v. Chemical Leaman Tank Lines, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

540 F.2d 837 (1976)

Facts

Ruby Conway (plaintiff) and other plaintiffs filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Chemical Leaman Tank Lines, Inc. (Chemical Leaman) (defendant) in federal district court based on diversity jurisdiction after the death of her husband. At trial, Conway, who had remarried, stated that her marriage to her deceased husband was her only marriage. Chemical Leaman attempted to impeach Conway by introducing evidence of her remarriage, but the district court, applying the Federal Rules of Evidence, disallowed the evidence. The jury found in favor of Conway and the other plaintiffs. Chemical Leaman appealed, claiming that Conway misled the jury into awarding her undue damages by making them think that she was an unremarried widow. Chemical Leaman argued that evidence of Conway’s remarriage was admissible under a Texas rule of evidence that required the admission of evidence of the remarriage of a widow in a wrongful-death action. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the judgments in favor of the other plaintiffs but reversed the judgment for Conway, holding that the exclusion of Chemical Leaman’s evidence was erroneous because the evidence was admissible under the Texas rule. The court further explained that the Texas rule did not allow evidence of a remarriage to mitigate damages and remanded the case to the district court to allow the jury to hear evidence of the remarriage for appropriate purposes. Chemical Leaman petitioned the court of appeals for a rehearing.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gee, J.)

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