Younts v. Baldor Elec. Co., Inc

In Younts v. Baldor Elec. Co., Inc., 310 Ark. 86, 832 S.W.2d 832 (Ark. 1992), Younts brought a products liability action against Baldor Electric Company because a defective motor in an exercise machine caused a fire that substantially damaged Younts tanning salon and exercise facility. 832 S.W.2d at 833. During direct examination, Younts' counsel asked him whether "he had been able to reopen his business after the fire." Id. at 834. Younts responded that he "hasn't been able to afford it." Id. Defense counsel argued that Younts opened the door for him to show that Younts had received a $ 41,500 insurance settlement. The trial court found that Younts had "opened the door" and the Arkansas Supreme Court agreed. Id. The court noted, "it is important to recognize that Younts' testimony came when he was being questioned by his own counsel. The question asked was whether he had rebuilt the physical facilities of his business. The question was wholly irrelevant to any question in the case other than possibly that of mitigation of damages which does not appear to have been at issue. ... The important point is that Younts' response that he could not afford to rebuild could very well have been misleading to the jury." Id.