Commercial Division Blog

Posted: October 26, 2014 / Categories Commercial, Evidence

Court Uses Doctrine of Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus to Find Whole of Witness's Testimony Not Credible

On October 2, 2014, Justice Emerson of the Suffolk County Commercial Division issued a decision in Motherway v. Retail Unlimited Maintenance or Remodel, Inc., 2014 NY Slip Op. 32673(U), applying the principle of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus to disregard the entirety of a witness's testimony.

In Motherway, the plaintiff sought damages for the defendants' alleged use of proprietary information. This post focuses on that part of the court's decision after a bench trial that addressed its credibility findings. The court wrote:

In reaching its decision, the court has considered the record in its entirety. In addition, the court has assessed the credibility of each of the witnesses. In particular, the court has considered the testimony of both Mr. Motherway and Mr. Cartisano. The courts finds Mr. Motherway to be a credible witness and his version of key events to be believable. The court credits Mr. Motherway's testimony and significant portions of the testimony of his employee witness. On the other hand, the court finds that Mr. Cartisano's testimony conflicts in significant ways with the credible evidence produced by Mr. Motherway and that it is both unreliable and improbable. Applying the doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which permits the fact finder to disregard in its entirety the testimony of a witness who has willfully given false testimony on a material matter (NY PJI 1:22), the court does not credit any of Mr. Cartisano's testimony.

(Emphasis added). Ouch! If ever you have trouble getting your client simply to testify to the facts as they happened, show them this post.