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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

12.1.05

Of course, we know that when plaintiffs in employment lawsuits get up on the witness stand and take the oath, their testimony that follows is always the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Nonetheless, defense attorneys tend to be the cynical sort who sometimes believe that the plaintiff is not being entirely candid. It is rare that a plaintiff will break down on the stand and admit that his or her testimony is but a collection of lies, and prior inconsistent statements to use to impeach a plaintiff are not always available. So defense counsel may seek to attempt to show through other means that a plaintiff's testimony is not worthy of belief. This column will address two such means: (1) cross-examination of the plaintiff about prior acts indicating a lack of credibility, and (2) commentary by mental health expert witnesses concerning the credibility of the plaintiff.

This article appeared in the Winter 2005 issue of the Employee Relations Law Journal.

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