Surveillance Videos Admitted Into Evidence Despite Claim of Unfair Prejudice

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that a trial judge appropriately admitted surveillance videos of the plaintiff into evidence.  The videos were taken in a case where the quality of life of the plaintiff after the accident was "hotly disputed."   The videos showed the plaintiff engaged in activities at casinos, but were admitted despite an objection under FRE 403 that the probative value was outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice that some jurors might consider his gambling immoral.

The Court explained that  the plaintiff’s “post-accident quality of life was hotly disputed, and plaintiff’s witnesses testified in detail regarding the allegedly severe post-accident limitations plaintiff faces, including the inability to count money, make change, or be in crowds,”  and thus concluded that the video’s probative value of his casinos visits “contradict[ed] these statements” and that this “weighs heavily against a hypothetical juror’s moral aversion to gambling.” 

The case is Baker v. Canadian National / Illinois Central R.R., 536 F.3d 357 (5th Cir. 2008).