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Home / Courts / Defendant couldn’t take the Fifth and argue contributory negligence (access required)

Defendant couldn’t take the Fifth and argue contributory negligence (access required)

It's one thing for a client to exercise Fifth Amendment rights in a criminal case. In a civil case, it's another thing altogether. An opinion from the N.C. Court of Appeals last week reiterated in no uncertain terms that a party in a civil case can refuse to answer questions from opposing counsel during discovery, but not without consequences. The issue is relatively rare in civil cases. "But you do encounter it from time to time," said David W. McDonald, one of the plaintiff's lawyers in the case. "I'm surprised it's not used more often in personal-injury cases."

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