Curative Admissibility Doctrine

At trial, the admissibility of evidence is within the trial court’s discretion. Nelson v. Waxman, 9 S.W.3d 601, 604 (Mo. 2000). There is an “abuse,” in this context, when a (1) ruling is clearly against the logic of the circumstances and is (2) so unreasonable and arbitrary that the ruling shocks the sense of justice and indicates a lack of careful, deliberate consideration. Id.

The “curative admissibility doctrine” is a rarely seen argument during trial (and on appeal), at least not explicitly. It applies only after one party introduces inadmissible evidence. State v. Shurn, 866 S.W.2d 447, 458 (Mo. 1993). Stated differently, after one party introduces inadmissible evidence, the opposing party is allowed to introduce otherwise inadmissible evidence to rebut or explain inferences raised by the first party’s evidence. Sherrer v. Boston Scientific Corp., 609 S.W.3d 697, 707 (Mo. 2020). The curative evidence must be limited “to the evidentiary point to which the inadmissible evidence was directed.” Id.

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