Diamond Offshore Services Ltd. v. Williams (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Except in rare circumstances, when the admissibility of a video is at issue, the proper exercise of discretion requires the trial court to actually view the video evidence before ruling on its admissibility.
The trial court in this personal-injury suit arising from a workplace accident excluded video evidence without watching it. The video was taken by an investigator hired by the employer and recorded the employee engaging in physical activities over the course of two days. The employer sought to admit the surveillance video into evidence to support its defensive theory that the employee was overstating his pain and downplaying his ability to return to some form of work. Because the surveillance video was highly probative in this case, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment entered in favor of the employee awarding him nearly $10 million, holding that the video should not have been excluded under Tex. R. Evid. 403, and the trial court’s abuse of discretion was harmful.