Using the rules of evidence to attack witness credibility

| Nov 25, 2020 | Business Law |

In a lot of cases involving employment law, it’s often hard to distinguish between a legitimate claim against an employer and an action that is brought by nothing more than a disgruntled employee who merely feels like he or she was treated unfairly. If you don’t aggressively defend yourself as an employer, then you can end up being found liable for discrimination, harassment, or some form of wrongful termination. This can affect your bottom line, of course, but it can also affect your reputation, your dealing in the business community, and your ability to obtain and retain top talent.

Witness credibility can be key to your case

Since these matters are often hard to decipher, witness credibility becomes extremely important. Judges and juries tend to rule in favor of the side that has the most credible witnesses, especially if their testimony is backed by facts favorable to their case. On the other hand, a witness who isn’t found credible can derail a case for one side, even if he or she has evidence that could steer the case in the other direction. This means that you need to know how to both attack witness credibility and protect it. Here are some tactics that might come into play in your case:

  • Impeachment by prior inconsistent statements: The rules of evidence in Colorado allow you to impeach a witness if his or her in court testimony differs from a statement that was made previously. This often involves testimony that is given at a deposition.
  • Opinion and reputation: The rules of evidence also allow a witness’s credibility be addressed through evidence pertaining to truthfulness.
  • Specific instances of conduct: in some instances, the rules of evidence allow you to use a witness’s specific acts to demonstrate their truthfulness. This might even include criminal convictions for crimes involving untruthfulness, as allowed by 13-90-101.

Take an aggressive, holistic approach to your case

When defending yourself and your business from litigation, you need to be aggressive and holistic in your approach. That means taking every defense strategy into account, including attacking witness credibility, to ensure that you position yourself as best as possible for negotiations and litigation. Fortunately, skilled legal teams like ours stand ready to assist in these matters.