TRIAL COURT PROPERLY ALLOWED DEFENDANT TO IMPEACH PLAINTIFF WITH EVIDENCE OF THE REFERRAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HER CHIROPRACTOR AND HER FORMER ATTORNEY, BECAUSE HER ATTORNEY OPENED THE DOOR TO SUCH EVIDENCE.
Ruchimora v. Grullon, 45 Fla. L Weekly D1675 (Fla. 3rd DCA July 15, 2020):
In this minor impact rear-end collision case, the trial court entered partial summary judgment for the plaintiff on negligence, and conducted a trial on causation and damages.
Before trial, plaintiff moved in limine to exclude reference to how plaintiff came to her chiropractor based on Worley.
During opening statement, defense counsel, without objection, implied that plaintiff’s former attorney referred her to a chiropractor. This contradicted plaintiff’s deposition testimony that she was referred to the chiropractor by the emergency room doctor.
On direct examination, plaintiff’s counsel then specifically asked plaintiff who referred her to her chiropractor. Plaintiff also entered the chiropractor’s LOP into evidence, which stated that it was the attorney that referred her.
“Opening the door” allows the admission of otherwise inadmissible testimony to explain or limit evidence previously admitted. Here, despite the motion in limine seeking to exclude the evidence, plaintiff’s counsel opened the door, thereby allowing the defendant to properly challenge the credibility as to the referral.
This ruling caused the court to affirm the jury’s verdict, awarding the plaintiff only a fraction of the past medical expenses that she sought, and finding no permanent injury (and thus no non-economic damages).