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Ensuring Prior Bad Acts Come Into Evidence in Personal Injury Cases: Strategies for Plaintiffs and Defendants

A live 90-minute CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 (in 9 days)

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide personal injury lawyers on how to leverage too often overlooked in civil cases Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) to get valuable evidence admitted and why the quest for such evidence can lead to other admissible evidence or influence settlement. The panel will discuss the rule and its exceptions; how to uncover prior bad acts or incidents; how to get that evidence admitted and best strategies for excluding it; and how to not overlook this rule in personal injury cases.


Evidence of prior bad acts admitted under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) can be very close to the proverbial silver bullet for personal injury attorneys in many cases and devasting to the person and case against whom it is offered.

It is controversial and often litigated because it can be a gateway to the jury for otherwise inadmissible evidence. If a plaintiff is aware of such evidence, counsel can draft the complaint to ensure similar acts will come into evidence. The defendant can do the likewise in its answer. But counsel must be well versed in what is not implicated by FRE 404(b) and thus admissible in its own right.

Counsel must understand the proper procedures for getting 404(b) evidence admitted and for excluding it. Courts are well aware of attempts to introduce inadmissible evidence and may be quick to exclude evidence that only becomes relevant and probative through inferences that the party against whom it is admitted acted in conformity with whatever the evidence of the prior act says about their character.

Listen as this experienced panel explores how this underutilized rule can be a powerful tool in personal injury cases.



  1. What evidence FRE 404(b) covers
  2. What evidence is never implicated by FRE 404(b)
  3. Admissibility
    1. Proper evidentiary purpose
    2. Relevant
    3. Probative value vs. prejudice
    4. Proper limiting instruction
  4. Application in different types of cases


The panel will review these and other pressing issues:

  • Has the definition of "bad acts" changed over time?
  • What standard should be applied when reviewing Rule 404(b) proper purpose determinations?
  • Do the rules governing the admissibility of character evidence apply to corporations or other entities?
  • What does it mean that Rule 404(b) is a rule of inclusion rather than exclusion?
  • What is "reverse" FRE 404(b) evidence?
  • What objections can be expected?


Campbell, Christopher
Christopher G. Campbell

DLA Piper

Mr. Campbell is a partner in the firm’s Product Liability and Mass Tort practice. He has experience in all phases...  |  Read More

Kiniry, William
William F. Kiniry, III

DLA Piper

Mr. Kiniry is engaged in a broad-based litigation practice focused on product liability, medical malpractice,...  |  Read More

Sidelsky, Cory
Cory Sidelsky

DLA Piper

Ms. Sidelsky is a civil litigator with a wide range of experience. His practice primarily focuses on the areas of mass...  |  Read More

Attend on May 1

Cannot Attend May 1?

You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video