Do You Think My Client is Lying?

This seems like a good interrogatory to serve an opposing party, but it is pointless.  I once received and responded to two interrogatories like this in an otherwise bland slip and fall case.

Interrogatory 15:
Please state whether you think that [Plaintiff] is lying about how she fell.
Response:
[Store] objects to this request as not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence because [Store]’s opinions about plaintiff’s truthfulness are not evidence.

Interrogatory 16:
Please state whether you think [Plaintiff] is lying about what caused her fall.
Response:
[Store] objects to this request as not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence because [Store]’s opinions about plaintiff’s truthfulness are not evidence.

The objection could have been phrased differently but the point is still the same.  In Nevada’s state courts, in general “it is exclusively within the province of the trier of fact to weigh evidence and pass on the credibility of witnesses and their testimony.”[1]  “[A] lay witness’s opinion concerning the veracity of the statement of another is inadmissible.”[2]  “Lay opinion about the veracity of particular statements by another is inadmissible on that issue.”[3]

Further, at least in the criminal context, Nevada prohibits “prosecutors from asking a defendant whether other witnesses have lied or from goading a defendant to accuse other witnesses of lying, except where the defendant during direct examination has directly challenged the truthfulness of those witnesses.”[4]  In Daniel v. State the accused “did not directly challenge the veracity of other witnesses during his direct examination, so asking him whether other witnesses had lied was inappropriate.”[5]  The rules of evidence between civil and criminal are sufficiently similar that I see no reason this rule should not apply in the civil context. The moral of the story is don’t waste interrogatories seeking worthless information.

[1] Lay v. State, 110 Nev. 1189, 1192, 886 P.2d 448, 450 (1994).
[2] DeChant v. State, 116 Nev. 918, 924-25, 10 P.3d 108, 112 (2000).
[3] Sterling v. State, 108 Nev. 391, 397, 834 P.2d 400, 404 (1992).
[4] Daniel v. State, 119 Nev. 498, 519, 78 P.3d 890, 904 (2003)
[5] Id.