Optional Completeness

       The “Rule of Optional Completeness” states that if a party to a lawsuit introduces part of a written or verbal statement then an opposing party to the lawsuit is entitled to introduce into evidence the entire statement into evidence.  The reason for this rule to to prevent a party from introducing part of a statement that gives an unfair impression.  The rule also ensures that a party can make certain that any statements that are entered into evidence are taken in their correct context.

       Generally speaking, a judge will permit the entire statement to be immediately entered into evidence if the opposing party requests it.  Strictly speaking, however, it is not required and it is actually the rule of the “remainder of writings or recorded statements” that would permit the immediate clarification of the statement.  Still, in the event that an opposing party introduces into evidence a misleading or incomplete statement it is worthwhile to ask the judge to permit the immediate clarification in order to prevent an incorrect impression to set into the jury.