Peralta v. Washington (Majority)Annotate this Case
One evening, plaintiff Deborah Peralta was drinking beer with a neighbor in a downtown Vancouver tavern. After an argument at the party, Peralta left on foot, became lost, and called her brother Jorge Peralta. She told him she had been drinking and asked for a ride home. After several unsuccessful efforts to meet her brother, Peralta mistook an approaching car for her brother's car. She stepped in front of the car, which was driven by a Washington State Patrol Sergeant who did not see Peralta in time to stop. The trooper struck her with his vehicle. The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court’s review was the trial court's ruling that plaintiff’s admission during pretrial discovery should have been given conclusive effect. Plaintiff admitted without qualification to being "under the influence of intoxicating liquors" at the time she was struck and injured. The Supreme Court held that her admission in this context was unambiguous and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it ruled she was bound by her admission. The jury instruction incorporating this ruling was also appropriate. As a result, the Court reversed the Court of Appeals on this point. The Supreme Court did not address the other evidentiary errors identified by the Court of Appeals, but instead remanded them for a determination of prejudice.