LOS ANGELES (CN) – In a product-liability case against Michelin North America, a California appeals court ruled that the trial court improperly admitted evidence about the driver’s private life, including two failed marriages and two affairs.
The lower court decided that the personal evidence was relevant to the plaintiff’s credibility and the cause of the rollover accident, which left him with a severe brain injury.
Justice Mallono disagreed, concluding that the plaintiff’s “illicit, intimate conduct was not relevant,” but had probably stacked the jury against him.
“The disputed evidence was so inflammatory it appears reasonably probable that had it been excluded, plaintiff could have obtained a verdict in his favor.”
The court reversed and remanded for a new trial.
The accident occurred as the plaintiff was driving Asian produce from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and the right rear tire of his van delaminated, causing his van to roll. Michelin argued that the plaintiff caused the accident by overloading the cargo van with produce.