Kobashigawa v. SilvaAnnotate this Case
Plaintiffs brought a negligence action against the City for damages arising from an accident in which William Kobashigawa was truck and killed while crossing a mid-block crosswalk. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the City, finding the City was not negligent. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) vacated the jury verdict and remanded for a new trial, concluding that the circuit court plainly erred in giving a cautionary instruction that permitted the jury to consider evidence of Plaintiffs' motive in filing suit and in allowing the City to comment on that motive in its closing argument. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) the ICA correctly found that the circuit court's cautionary instruction regarding motive was a prejudicially erroneous statement of the law; but (2) the ICA incorrectly found that Plaintiffs failed to preserve their objections to the admission of irrelevant evidence concerning their motive in filing suit and that such failure required it to resort to plain error review.