Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Litigation Tip from TORT TALK

Here's a litigation tip/reminder from Tort Talk:

The Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence differentiate between the proper scope of cross-examination for non-party witnesses versus party witnesses.

Section 611(b) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(b) Scope of cross-examination. Cross-examination of a witness other than a party in a civil case should be limited to the subject matter of the direct examination and matters affecting credibility; however, the court may, in the exercise of discretion, permit inquiry into additional matters as if on direct examination. A party witness in a civil case may be cross-examined by an adverse party on any matter relevant to any issue in the case, including credibility, unless the court, in the interest of justice, limits the cross-examination with respect to matters not testified to on direct examination.

Thus, under Pa.R.E. 611(b), the scope of cross-examination of a party plaintiff or defendant witness is not necessarily bound by the extent, content, or scope of the direct examination, but rather, can be much broader unless limited by the court in its discretion.

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