Thursday, April 1, 2010

The importance of video in trial

HEURING v. MEIJER, INC.

"... Sometime after appellee's release from the hospital it was discovered that there was a videotape of the incident as well as a co-worker and a customer who had witnessed appellee's fall. Dr. Brue did not consider the videotape or any statements from the witnesses in reaching his medical opinion ..."

"... While appellant's reliance on Waller is not incorrect, appellant fails to prove that appellee fell because of a syncopal episode unrelated to appellee's employment. The only witness offering the syncopal episode explanation for appellee's fall is Dr. Brue who did not base his conclusion on the indisputable video evidence or the testimony of witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the incident. The stronger evidence is the opinion of the customer who witnessed the event and Dr. Dunne, who formed her opinion after reviewing the video of the fall. These parties agree, and the video is consistent in showing, that appellee tripped over a step stool while walking towards the counter. The circumstances revealed in the stronger evidence fall in favor of compensation ..."

"... Moreover, had appellant successfully proven that appellee's fall was caused by some idiopathic condition, appellant would still need to defeat the exception laid out in Indus. Comm. v. Nelson (1933), 127 Ohio St. 41. In Nelson the Supreme Court of Ohio set forth an exception which allows participation in the Workers' Compensation Fund despite an idiopathic condition "whenever conditions attached to the place of employment or otherwise incident to the employment are factors in" the resultant injury. Id. at 46. In Nelson, a welder experienced an epileptic seizure and fell, striking his head on the corner of the spot welding machine where he was working. Id. at 42. In our case, the video showed and appellee's co-worker testified that appellee fell into and hit his head on some cabinets ..."

Clear evidence of the value of video evidence at trial: "... who formed her opinion after reviewing the video of the fall. These parties agree, and the video is consistent in showing, that appellee tripped over a step stool while walking towards the counter. The circumstances revealed in the stronger evidence fall in favor of compensation ..."

Enjoy.

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