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Anne_C, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Business litigator, 15 years' experience
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What if the defendant party in a civil suit fails to name ...

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What if the defendant party in a civil suit fails to name himself in a pretrial statement as a witness. Can the defennant be excluded form testifying on his own behalf?

Dear Davis, California:


In California, a party to litigation is always considered a witness or potential witness to a matter, even if they fail to list themselves on a pretrial statement. In fact, some types of pre-trial documents don't even require a party to list themselves as a witness -- although if the document you are referring to is a witness list, parties to litigation generally do list themselves.

Furthermore, under California's Code of Civil Procedure and its Rules of Court, a person who is in a courtroom can be called as a witness to a matter, even if they weren't given a Notice to Appear or a Trial Subpoena.

Even if the Plaintiff's side tried to exclude a Defendant from testifying (it would probably be done by a Motion in Limine to Exclude Testimony), a Judge that granted that could very likely have his or her decision overturned on appeal.

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