Appellate courts are reluctant to reverse a judgment based on an evidentiary ruling. Messina v. Kroblin Transp. Sys., Inc., 903 F.2d 1306, 1310 (10th Cir. 1990) [login required]. For one thing, such rulings are reviewed under the deferential abuse-of-discretion standard. Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Emp'rs Reinsurance. Corp., 144 F.3d 1077, 1082 (7th Cir. 1998) [login required]. Second, it is difficult to convince an appellate court that an evidentiary ruling may have substantially affected the outcome of the case—i.e., that it is not a “harmless” error. Third, appellate courts will deny a claim of error where the appellant failed to properly preserve the argument in the trial court.
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