Legal Memorandum: Admissibility of Circumstantial Evidence in TX

Issue: Is circumstantial evidence admissible to establish causation in Texas?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Circumstantial evidence; Causation; Prove negligence
Jurisdiction: Texas
Cited Cases: 133 S.W.2d 572; 158 Tex. 487; 78 S.W.2d 164; 134 Tex. 308; 147 Tex. 465; 529 S.W.2d 751
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2013

“Speculation” as used to describe an expert’s testimony means it is based on mere “guesswork or conjecture,” without underlying factual support.  Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am. v. Justiss, No. 10-0451 (Tex. Dec. 14, 2012).  On the other hand, testimony is not “speculation” if it is based on other facts in evidence.  Id.  Such other evidence may consist of either direct or circumstantial evidence.  Browning Ferris Inc. v. Reyna, 865 S.W.2d 925, 928 (Tex. 1993) (“circumstantial evidence may be used to establish any material fact”); Texas & N.O.R. Co. v. Warden, 125 Tex. 193, 78 S.W.2d 164, 167 (1935) (“direct evidence is not required by law, but facts to be proved may be established by circumstantial evidence”).  “In practically all cases, some of the evidence is circumstantial.”  Larson v. Ellison, 147 Tex. 465, 217 S.W.2d 420, 421 (1949).

“Circumstantial evidence,” sometimes referred to as indirect evidence, has long been distinguished from direct evidence.  These distinct types of evidence are defined as follows:

Direct evidence is proof of the facts by witnesses who saw the acts done or heard the words spoken, while circumstantial evidence is the proof of collateral facts and circumstances from which the mind arrives at the conclusion that the main facts sought to be established in fact existed. . . .  Circumstantial evidence, while not directly establishing the fact sought to be proven, establishes other facts from which the existence of the disputed fact may, with more or less probability be inferred.  In other words, the […]


Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)