Supreme Court to Lower Courts: Admission of 'Me Too' Evidence Is For You to Decide
Today, the Supreme Court decided to let lower courts decide the admissibility of testimony by employees other than the plaintiff regarding workplace discrimination, also known as "me too" evidence, in discrimination cases. The Court's unanimous ruling in Sprint v. Mendelsohn held that "federal rules... do not make [me too] evidence per se admissible or per se inadmissible."
A ruling barring "me too" evidence would have been a winner for employers, comments Mike Fox at Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer. But Fox still finds a silver lining for employers in the ruling. Fox explains that because the admissibility of evidence rests with a federal judge's discretion, and most federal judges prefer to limit the scope of issues addressed at trial, judges are more likely than not to exclude "me too" evidence to keep trials from spinning out of control.
Jonathan Hyman at Ohio Employer's Law Blog opines that "the decision makes a lot of sense." He explains that while the decision does not give trial judges guidance on when to admit "me too" evidence, this guidance would have been difficult to provide since the relevance of "me too" evidence depends upon the context and theory of the case.
At Workplace Prof Blog, Paul Secunda says that given the present rightward bent of the court, today's ruling represents a moral victory for ADEA plaintiffs. But like Hyman and Fox, Secunda anticipates that on remand, the ultimate ruling on admissibility is not likely to favor the plaintiff.
For more news related coverage, see posts at SCOTUS Blog and Law.com.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 26, 2008 at 02:41 PM | Permalink
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