No new trial after judge erroneously excluded evidence of prior judgment
George Faysal sued Century 21 and Harold Nimchonok, his realtor, alleging that the Defendants negligently prepared a buy-sell for Faysal's jewelry business, resulting in Faysal's inability to enforce the terms of the sale. Faysal's attorneys attempted to admit documents from Faysal's previous lawsuit against the buyer to confirm that he suffered damages as a result of Nimchonok's breach of fiduciary duty. The trial judge refused to admit the documents and the jury's verdict was for the defendant.Faysal appealed the lower court holding excluding his evidence. The Court of Appeals agreed that it was error to exclude the documents from the prior trial, however, since the documents related to damages and this jury found no breach of duty, the Court concluded that the lower court's error was harmless.
While this decision is a correct application of law and confirms the near-sanctity of verdicts in many cases, it unfairly assumes that the prior jury decision would not have influenced the current jury's deliberations on fault.