Evidence: Lack of Foundation

Whether it be at a deposition or at trial, objections for “lack of foundation” are one of the more common objections. But what does it mean?

An objection based on lack of foundation usually means that the evidence or document lacks authentication, identification, logical relevance, or legal relevance. Kappel v. Prater, 599 S.W.3d 196 fn 2 (Mo. 2020). Because a general foundation objection can mean more than one thing, such a general objection is insufficient to draw a court’s attention as to what aspect of the foundation is allegedly lacking. Riley v. Headland, 311 S.W.3d 891, 895 (Mo. Ct. App. 2010).

The foundational requirements will differ depending on the character of the evidence. For example, “one offering a photograph in evidence must show by extrinsic evidence that the photograph is an accurate and faithful representation of the place, person or subject it purports to portray.” Kappel, 599 S.W.3d at 193.

From an appeal perspective, an appellate court reviews claimed errors for an abuse of discretion. “The trial court has discretion to determine whether a sufficient foundation was laid for the admission of evidence . . . and this Court will not reverse absent a showing the trial court abused its discretion.” Weltmer v. Signature Health Servs. Inc., 417 S.W.3d 856, 863 (Mo. Ct. App. 2014)

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