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Payne v. Fiesta Corp. -- opinion highlighting the critical importance of an offer of proof in case involving 'spaceball human gyroscope ride'

Multiple trial court errors taken up on appeal, including admission of a wobbly expert's testimony, exclusion of evidence, and the denial of various motions.  Notably emphasized in the opinion: evidence excluded due to a motion in limine does not preserve anything for appeal.  "To properly preserve a challenge to the trial court's exclusion of evidence "[t]he proponent of the evidence must attempt to present the excluded evidence at trial," and if the evidence remains excluded, then the proponent is required to make an offer of proof."

Court Summary:

Fiesta Corporation (“Fiesta”) appeals a judgment entered against it by the Circuit Court of Jefferson County after the jury returned a verdict of $1,500,000 in damages in favor of Adam Payne (“Respondent”). On appeal, Fiesta alleges multiple trial court errors: (1) the admission of deposition testimony from Respondent’s expert witness, (2) the exclusion of evidence concerning Respondent’s past medical bills and past lost wages, (3) the court’s failure to declare a mistrial for an allegedly leading question by Respondent’s trial counsel that unfairly prejudiced Fiesta, (4) the court’s denials of Fiesta’s motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict, (5) the court’s denial of Fiesta’s motion for new trial based on an excessive verdict unsupported by the evidence, and (6) the court’s denial of Fiesta’s motion for remittitur.


Division Four holds: We find the trial court did not err on any of these matters. Thus, we affirm the judgment.

© Copyright 2020 Armstrong Teasdale LLP. All rights reserved National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 89



About this Author

Laura A. Bentele, Litigation Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale, Law firm

Laura Bentele is an associate attorney in the Litigation group practicing in the areas of complex commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense. To achieve optimal outcomes, Laura anticipates clients’ strategic and practical business considerations. Committed to effective case management, she is versed in all phases of discovery, trial preparation and negotiation of settlements with opposing counsel. Laura strives to maintain open avenues of communication to ensure that clients receive representation that meets their business needs.