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Ostrowski v. Cape Transit Corp.

853 A.2d 985 (2004)

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Ostrowski v. Cape Transit Corp.

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division

853 A.2d 985 (2004)

Facts

John Ostrowski (plaintiff) was in a car accident with a driver employed by Cape Transit Corporation (defendant). Cape Transit admitted liability, but a trial was held on the issue of damages. At trial, Cape Transit’s opening statement claimed that Ostrowski was faking the extent of the head injury he sustained in the accident. The opening previewed evidence Cape Transit would introduce to prove this claim. During Cape Transit’s presentation of its case, it introduced medical expert testimony and other evidence to the same effect, including videos of Ostrowski doing things that he claimed he could no longer do because of the head injury. In effect, Cape Transit claimed that Ostrowski had been living a lie since the accident in order to obtain a large judgment. After hearing Cape Transit’s opening statement, the trial court permitted Ostrowski to introduce evidence of his character for truthfulness in his case-in-chief. After the trial court’s ruling on damages, Cape Transit appealed, arguing that Ostrowski should not have been permitted to introduce evidence of his character for truthfulness.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Skillman, J.)

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