Salas v. Hi-Tech Erectors, 168 Wn.2d 664, 230 P.3d 583 (2010) (view WELA’s brief)
In Salas the Plaintiff was long time resident of the United States without a legal immigration status.? He was injured while working and brought suit against the Defendant, which was hired to erect scaffolding at the work site.? The trial court acknowledged the prejudicial effect of disclosing illegal immigration status to the jury, but nevertheless ruled that the Plaintiff’s immigration status was relevant and admissible on the issue of front pay.? The jury found that the Defendant was negligent but that the Defendant’s conduct was not the proximate cause of the injury, and verdict was entered in favor of the Defendant.? The Plaintiff appealed.
The State Supreme Court ruled that evidence of illegal immigration status is relevant to the issue of front pay.? Relying upon ER 403, however, the Court ruled that “the probative value of a plaintiff’s undocumented status, by itself, is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.”? The case was remanded for a new trial.