D'amico Rule in California
In D'Amico v. Board of Medical Examiners (1974) 11 Cal.3d 1, the California Supreme Court held, " 'where ... there is a clear and unequivocal admission by the plaintiff, himself, in his deposition' " and the plaintiff contradicts that admission in a subsequent declaration, " 'we are forced to conclude there is no substantial evidence of the existence of a triable issue of fact.' " (D'Amico, supra, 11 Cal.3d at p. 21 quoting King v. Andersen (1966) 242 Cal.App.2d 606, 610 51 Cal. Rptr. 561 assault victim's affidavit stating unnecessary force was used disregarded in light of her prior deposition testimony that no force was used.)
The court explained: "As the law recognizes in other contexts (see Evid. Code, 1220-1230) admissions against interest have a very high credibility value. This is especially true when ... the admission is obtained ... in the context of an established pretrial procedure whose purpose is to elicit facts." (D'Amico, supra, at p. 22.)
In Price v. Wells Fargo Bank (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 465,at 482 the court warned that, "an uncritical application of the D'Amico decision can lead to anomalous results, inconsistent with the general principles of summary judgment law."
The Price court cautioned that D'Amico should not be interpreted "as saying that admissions should be shielded from careful examination in light of the entire record." (Ibid..)
This is because the record may contain evidence that credibly contradicts or explains what might appear to be clear and unequivocal admissions, if the admissions are viewed in isolation and without reference to the other evidence. (See ibid. "summary judgment should not be based on tacit admissions or fragmentary and equivocal concessions, which are contradicted by other credible evidence".)