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Civil case: parties as witnesses - Can either side call the

Customer Question

Civil case: parties as witnesses - Can either side call the other as a witness; is it only the defense that can call plaintiff, and the plaintiff can not call defendants?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today.


Either side can call the other side as a witness. The difference is that when a party calls a witness for direct examination, the party cannot lead the witness - meaning the party cannot ask questions that suggest the answer or a question that may be answered by a mere yes or no. Leading questions are usually only for cross examination of the other party's witnesses.


An exception to this non-leading questions on direct rule is - when you call the opposite party on direct (not their witnesses but the party his/her/itself) you can ask the judge that you treat them as a "hostile witness" and be able to ask leading questions.


So to answer your question directly - yes both the plaintiff and defendant can call each other as witnesses. And both can treat each other as a hostile witness on direct examination, which allows them to ask leading questions to each other.


I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

even if the other party was not listed as a witness in discovery?

Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.
Rick,

Whether the court allows you to call the other party absent your putting them on the witness list is totally in the judge's discretion. I'd have to believe the judge would allow you to do that because 1) you're a pro se litigant and there is a lower standard allowed by judges for pro se parties, 2) it's the opposite party you intend to call - and certainly the opposite party has notice that he/she may be called in the matter absent being listed on the witness list, even if its just for his/her case in chief...i.e., its not as if you are calling some surprise witness that the other party had no idea existed or has some new information.


Hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.
John, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3144
Experience: Licensed and practicing attorney.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

if called by the plaintiff, do I object from the witness stand when asked questions I would object to?

Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.
Yes and also the judge, being that you're pro se, may assist you by objecting "sua sponte" on his/her own....that again though is totally in the judge's discretion.

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