Evans v. Olinde
Louisiana Court of Appeal
609 So. 2d 299 (1992)
Steven Otterstatter was driving at night with his two young daughters when his car was struck by a car driven by Elizabeth Olinde (defendant). Otterstatter’s daughters were seriously injured. Olinde claimed that Otterstatter’s lights were not on and that by the time she could see Otterstatter’s car, it was too late for her to avoid hitting him. Shortly after the accident, investigators Leo Brassett and Gene Moody found Otterstatter’s car and removed its headlights and taillights. Brassett and Moody claimed that they gave the lights to Dr. Leonard Adams, an electrical-engineering expert, who tested the lights to determine whether they were on at the time of the accident. Robin Evans (plaintiff), the injured girls’ mother, filed an action against parties including Olinde and Otterstatter to recover for the girls’ injuries. Otterstatter cross-claimed against Olinde for emotional and psychological damages. Before trial, Otterstatter filed a motion in limine to exclude evidence regarding Dr. Adams’s testing of the lights. The trial court granted Otterstatter’s motion because there was not sufficient proof that the lights tested by Dr. Adams were the lights from Otterstatter’s car. However, during the trial, the court reversed itself and allowed testimony about the testing. Brassett and Moody testified about removing the lights from the car, and Moody testified that he took the lights to Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams testified that he tested the lights but did not personally know whether the lights were from Otterstatter’s car. The tested lights were not introduced into evidence. The jury ultimately found that Olinde was not at fault for the accident, and Otterstatter appealed to the Louisiana Court of Appeal.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stoker, J.)
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