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Objections to Evidence: California

Below is a list of objections to evidence submitted in support of a pleading or motion, such as a motion for summary judgment.  These are objections under the California Rules of Evidence.  Please see our separate article on discovery objections here.

  1. Misstates the Testimony,  Cal. Evid. Code §§ 210, 403.
  2. Lack of Foundation/No Personal Knowledge, California Evidence Code §§ 702(a), 800.  The statements lack foundation and/or are not based on personal knowledge. (For more on recorded conversations, see here.)
  3. Incomplete, Cal. Evid. Code § 356.  Where part of a declaration, deposition, or writing is entered into evidence, another party may enter its entirety in evidence to make it understood.
  4. Inadmissible Speculation and Conclusions, Cal. Evid. Code §§ 400, 403, 410 ("'direct evidence' . . . directly proves a fact, without an inference or presumption"), 803; Los Angeles County Office of the Dist. Attorney v. Civil Serv. Comm'n of County of Los Angeles, 55 Cal. App. 4th 187, 201-202 (1997) ("Rather than offer evidence showing [the fact sought to be proved, the party] merely insinuated [motives for the fact.] Such testimony is mere speculation not supported by any evidence"); Trujillo v. First Am. Registry, Inc., 157 Cal. App. 4th 628, 635 (2008) ("opposition to summary judgment will be deemed insufficient when it is essentially conclusionary, argumentative or based on conjecture and speculation").
  5. Inadmissible Hearsay, Cal. Evid. Code § 1200.  The alleged statements are out of court statements sought to be used for the truth of the matter asserted.
  6. Irrelevant and Prejudicial, Cal. Evid. Code §§ 210, 350, 352 [1] (court may exclude evidence whose probative value is substantially outweighed by "undue consumption of time,""undue prejudice," "confusing the issues, or of misleading the jury").
  7. Improper Legal Conclusion. Hayman v. Block, 176 Cal.App.3d 629, 638-39 (1986) ("affidavits must cite evidentiary facts, not legal conclusions or 'ultimate' facts"); Marriage of Heggie, 99 Cal. App. 4th 28, 30 n.3 (2002) ("The proper place for argument is in points and authorities, not declarations").
  8. Improper Expert Testimony (or improper opinion evidence that does not lay a foundation as to the individual's special knowledge, skill, experience, training, and education or a statement of the basis of the opinion), Cal. Evid. Code §§ 720, 800-803; Greshko v. County of Los Angeles, 194 Cal. App. 3d 822, 834 (1987) ("Affidavits or declarations setting forth only conclusions, opinions or ultimate facts are held insufficient; even an expert's opinion cannot rise to the dignity of substantial evidence if it is unsubstantiated by facts"); Reida v. Lund, 18 Cal. App. 3d 698, 702 (1971) (finding diagnosis  and conclusions  arrived at from depositions, newspaper reports, and a distrust for the other side's contrary declarations "lacks even a modicum of evidentiary value, for it amounts to no more than the psychologist's personal and unsupported expression of disbelief in the testimony of another").
  9. Lack of Authentication, Cal. Evid. Code § 1400-1401.  The documents are not authenticated, or have not been produced in discovery.
  10. Best (Secondary) Evidence Rule, Cal. Evid. Code §§ 1520-23.  Improper oral testimony regarding the contents of a writing.
  11. Contradicts prior sworn deposition testimony (See Sham Testimony).  D'Amico v. Board of Med. Examiners, 11 Cal. 3d 1, 21-22 (1974) bars testimony that contradicts a prior sworn admission made during discovery.  See also Archdale v. American Internat. Specialty Ins. Co., 154 Cal.App.4th 449, 473 (2007)("Where a party's self-serving declarations contradict credible discovery admissions and purport to impeach that party's own prior sworn testimony, they should be disregarded"); [In summary judgment context, add: It holds that an affidavit or declaration contradicting a sworn admission does not raise substantial evidence of a triable issue of fact to defeat a summary judgment motion.  Collins v. Hertz Corp., 144 Cal.App.4th 64, 75 n. 5, 79 (a declaration contradicting deposition testimony is insufficient to defeat summary judgment when objection to evidence raised).]

[1] But see People ex rel. City of Dana Point v. Holistic Health, 213 Cal. App. 4th 1016, 1029 (2013) ("Shielding the fact finder from inflammatory material or misleading considerations, however, is not the issue at summary judgment, which consists of spotting material factual disputes, not resolving them. . . . [so there is] no authority applying Evidence Code section 352 in the summary judgment context").

What is Documate and why are we telling you about objections to evidence in California?

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In the legal practice, discovery documents, complaints, answers, and much more complex documents can be automated on Documate.  Your initial discover document drafts (before the objections to evidence in California) are a great place to start automating to save time and great efficiency in your law practice!

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