So isn't the burden shifted to Defendant in civil matters when they are in possession of all the evidence that could prove or disprove of a case. Why or why not??I'm inquiring as to when a Defendant possesses most or all the evidence, and the Plaintiff subpoenas said evidence, and Defendant refuses to produce said evidence based on a number of questionable objections (i.e. attorney-client privilege, relevance, etc.) (this is for small claims where discovery and evidence rules are more relaxed). In evaluating whether to shift the normal allocation of the burden of proof, the courts consider a number of factors: the knowledge of the parties concerning the particular fact, the availability of the evidence to the parties, the most desirable result in terms of public policy in the absence of proof of the particular fact, and the probability of the existence or nonexistence of the fact. Courts shift the burden of proof for causation when it is impossible for the plaintiff to prove its case otherwise. Sargent Fletcher, Inc. v. Able Corp. (App. 2 Dist. 2003) 3 Cal.Rptr.3d 279, 110 Cal.App.4th 1658. Evidence 97. Evidence Code 604.
The defendant would not have the burden, but would have to produce certain evidence through the discovery process. The plaintiff still has burden to prove its case. Why? Because it wouldn't be fair and just to allow a plaintiff to claim the defendant owes them a million dollars and merely say they have all the evidence, so give me the million dollars unless you can prove you don't owe me it.
"Isn't the burden shifted to Defendant in civil matters when they are in possession of all the evidence that could prove or disprove of a case." -- No. Which burden are you writing about? Burden of producing evidence or burden of proof? They are different concepts and different rules apply. Plaintiff always has the burden of producing substantial evidence to support each element of each cause of action. Certain presumptions may apply in context to make that burden easier but it is never shifted to defendant. Defendant, on the other hand, has the burden of producing substantial evidence to support of its defenses.
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The plaintiff always has the burden of proof for any claims which the plaintiff is pursuing. The burden does not shift to the defendant merely because the defendant possesses the evidence which the plaintiff deems necessary to prove plaintiff's case. Unfortunately, if this is a small claims court case, the plaintiff does not have the right to conduct discovery to force the defendant to produce documents. However, the plaintiff can subpoena documents necessary at the time of trial.
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