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Impeachment Prior Inconsistent Statement Cases Summarized

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Impeachment Prior Inconsistent Statement and the related topic of personal injury.For more information on impeachment see the page on Wikipedia. 

Impeachment Prior Inconsistent Statement-Statutes

See Va. Code § 8.01-403 as to impeaching witness proving adverse.


See Va. Code § 8.01-404 as to impeachment and fact that in personal injury action no ex parte statement in writing may be used to contradict.

Impeachment Prior Inconsistent Statement-Cases

2007 John Crane, Inc. v. Jones, 274 Va. 581, 650 S.E.2d 851.

Plaintiff called employee of corporate defendant to testify as to a pattern of untruthful behavior in terms of the defendant’s discovery responses. The employee who is called as a witness was responsible for reviewing and certifying these discovery responses. This witness was not called solely for the purpose of impeaching the witness but was being called for the purpose of impeaching the corporation’s responses.

2004 Gamache v. Allen, 268 Va. 222, 601 S.E.2d 598.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.In this medical malpractice action, defendant sought to challenge plaintiff’s veracity by presenting evidence that he had been untruthful with his former physician. Attempts to impeach a witness’ reputation for truth and veracity must be confined to the general reputation of the impeached witness for truth and veracity and may not include the commission of specific acts of untruthfulness or other bad conduct.

2002 Jones v. Ford Motor Co., 263 Va. 237, 559 S.E.2d 592.

Contradiction can be a form of impeachment and a witness may be impeached with contradictory testimony of others.

1999 Breeden v. Roberts, 258 Va. 411, 518 S.E.2d 834.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.In this auto accident case, plaintiff was cross-examined as to whether he had ever made prior statement about how much money he was going to get out of this lawsuit. Plaintiff denied making statement. No objection was made to those questions. Because that foundation had been laid, it was proper to impeach plaintiff on that issue even though this witness had not been previously disclosed. Testimony is relevant and should be considered if, when considered in relation to other evidence, it tends to establish party’s claim or defense or adds force and strength to other evidence bearing on issue in case.

1992 Faison v. Hudson, 243 Va. 397, 417 S.E.2d 305.

Prior consistent statement only admissible where witness has been impeached by bias, interest, corruption, prior inconsistent statement, or recent fabrication. Fact that other witness has provided contrary evidence is not sufficient to make prior consistent statement admissible.

1990 Luck v. Miller, 240 Va. 445, 397 S.E.2d 869.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.Whenever character of witness for truth is attacked by direct evidence, proof of contradictory statements in regard to material facts, or whenever his character for truth is impeached in any way known to law, then evidence of that witness’s general reputation for truthfulness may be allowed. In this case it was reversible error to exclude that evidence.

1990 Commercial Distribs. v. Blankenship, 240 Va. 382, 397 S.E.2d 840.

When prior inconsistent statements are offered to impeach witness, opposing party is entitled, upon request, to cautionary instruction advising jury that statements are to be considered only insofar as they may affect credibility of witness. It may not be considered as proof of truth of their content.

1989 Mastin v. Theirjung, 238 Va. 434, 384 S.E.2d 86.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.Defendant called plaintiff as witness to impeach. Within discretion of trial court as to whether impeachment will be allowed as rebuttal when it could have been accomplished in cross-examination of plaintiff.

1982 Dutton v. Locker, 224 Va. 535, 297 S.E.2d 814.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.Inconsistency between deposition testimony and trial testimony discussed.

1982 Wells v. McMahon, 223 Va. 192, 288 S.E.2d 439.

Discussion of inconsistency between trial testimony and disposition testimony.

1980 Cassady v. Martin, 220 Va. 1093, 266 S.E.2d 104.

Prior inconsistent statement may be offered only for impeachment purposes.

1970 Asbury v. Commonwealth, 211 Va. 101, 175 S.E.2d 239.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.Not error to permit contradiction of witness’s testimony by use of bill of complaint filed in prior divorce suit which was based on information given by defendant but was neither read nor signed by defendant.

1970 Phillips v. School, 211 Va. 19, 175 S.E.2d 279.

Accident report not available to impeach witness by reference to report. See Va. Code § 46.1-407 [now § 46.2-377].

1966 Neblett v. Hunter, 207 Va. 335, 150 S.E.2d 115.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.Reversible error committed when, after proper foundation had been laid, plaintiff was not allowed to impeach credibility of witness.

1966 Shelton v. Mullins, 207 Va. 17, 147 S.E.2d 754.

Prior inconsistent statements do not render witness’s testimony nugatory or unworthy of belief. It is province of jury to pass upon such inconsistent statements and give or withhold their assent to truthfulness of particular statement.

1961 Brown v. Peters, 202 Va. 382, 117 S.E.2d 695.

Prior inconsistent statements are admissible as impeachment only.

1958 Williams v. Morris, 200 Va. 413, 105 S.E.2d 829.

Witness who heard prior statement may be called as impeachment witness. However, transcription of that statement is not admissible.

1957 Daniels v. Morris, 199 Va. 205, 98 S.E.2d 694.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.Plaintiff’s attorney on cross-examination impeached defendant with statement that defendant had given to plaintiff’s attorney in his office. This practice was not condoned.

1952 Solterer v. Kiss, 193 Va. 695, 70 S.E.2d 329.

Defendant sought to impeach plaintiff by use of prior written statements procured by insurance adjuster. Questions had been put to plaintiff in English, transcribed in German and translated back to English by defendant. Under circumstances, judge held statements could only be used if full facts surrounding their taking were presented to jury.

1952 Luhring v. Carter, 193 Va. 529, 69 S.E.2d 416.

To lay foundation, witness must be confronted with impeaching statement.

1951 Keatts v. Shelton, 191 Va. 758, 63 S.E.2d 10.

Defendant sought to impeach testimony of plaintiff by prior inconsistent statements. Plaintiff was confronted with time, place and occasion of his former testimony. He did not remember making them. Where plaintiff does not recall his former testimony or statement, then adequate foundation has been laid for his impeachment.

1949 Richmond Oil Equip. Co. v. W. T. Holt, Inc., 189 Va. 334, 53 S.E.2d 11.

Impeachment prior inconsistent statement.Fact that witness makes inconsistent statements in regard to matter under investigation does not render testimony of such witness nugatory.

1948 McGehee v. Perkins, 188 Va. 116, 49 S.E.2d 304.

Laying proper foundation for impeachment requires that witness be given opportunity to correct present testimony. Failure of witness to recall his former testimony constitutes adequate foundation for his impeachment.

1945 VEPCO v. Hall, 184 Va. 102, 34 S.E.2d 382.

Prior inconsistent statements are considered solely for impeachment value and not as substantive evidence.

1942 Harris v. Harrington, 180 Va. 210, 22 S.E.2d 13.

Witnesses involved in personal injury or wrongful death case may not be impeached by statement that has been reduced to writing (excluding depositions).

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Impeachment Prior Inconsistent Statement Cases Summarized

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