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AMI 202 Meaning of Burden of Proof and Preponderance of the Evidence

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 202
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2021 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 2. Issues and Burden of Proof
AMI 202 Meaning of Burden of Proof and Preponderance of the Evidence
A party who has the burden of proof on a proposition must establish it by a preponderance of the evidence, unless the proposition is so established by other proof in the case [or unless a different standard of proof is required by another instruction]. “Preponderance of the evidence” means the greater weight of evidence. The greater weight of evidence is not necessarily established by the greater number of witnesses testifying to any fact or state of facts. It is the evidence which, when weighed with that opposed to it, has more convincing force and is more probably true and accurate. If, upon any issue in the case, the evidence appears to be equally balanced, or if you cannot say upon which side it weighs heavier, you must resolve that question against the party who has the burden of proving it.
NOTE ON USE
This instruction should be given in every case.
Use the bracketed material when plaintiff claims punitive damages or claims damages based upon defamation of a public figure or invasion of privacy by false light.
COMMENT
A mere preponderance is all that is necessary to meet the burden. Hays v. Williams, 115 Ark. 406, 171 S.W. 882 (1914). It is error to imply that anything more than preponderance is needed: Whaley v. Niven, 175 Ark. 839, 1 S.W.2d 3 (1927) (“fair” preponderance); Sealy Mattress Co. v. Southern Cotton Oil Co., 167 Ark. 405, 268 S.W. 611 (1925) (“clear” preponderance).
“Preponderance of the evidence” means evidence of greater convincing force. Smith v. Magnet Cove Barium Corp., 212 Ark. 491, 206 S.W.2d 442 (1947). A preponderance is not to be established solely by the greater number of witnesses. Louisiana & A. Ry. Co. v. Muldrow, 181 Ark. 674, 27 S.W.2d 516 (1930); Martin v. Vaught, 128 Ark. 293, 194 S.W. 10 (1917).
For claims for punitive damages accruing on or after March 25, 2003, the burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-55-207 (2003). See AMI 2218. One of the elements for recovery on a claim for damages based upon defamation of a public figure or invasion of privacy by false light requires proof by clear and convincing evidence. See AMI 408 and 423.
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