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The scope of Alaska R. Evid. 407 is limited to improvements actually implemented. An investigation or recommendation is not a concrete action. Therefore, courts do not exclude reports of post-accident investigations and recommendations, often among the best and most accurate sources of evidence and information for injured parties.
Catherine Peters fell in the shower area of Bethel's city-owned senior center. She suffered multiple fractures of her right leg. Following Peters' accident, Louise Charles, the City's director of senior services, prepared an "Accident/Incident Investigation Report," in which she recommended the installation of safety bars in the shower area. Safety bars were later installed. Peters sued the City of Bethel alleging negligence in its maintenance of the shower. Peters introduced into evidence a redacted version of the accident report in which the section detailing the "corrective action taken" was blacked out. In addition to the issues of negligence and contributory negligence, the superior court submitted to the jury, over the City's objection, the question whether Peters suffered a severe disfigurement. The jury found that the City was eighty-seven percent at fault for the accident and that Peters did suffer severe disfigurement, awarding $ 575,000 in noneconomic damages. The City appealed, arguing that Alaska Rule of Evidence 407 should have barred the admittance of the accident report, that the issue of severe disfigurement should not have gone to the jury, and that the court's failure to correct a pair of statements made during Peters' closing argument was plain error.
On appeal, the Supreme Court of Alaska held that evidence showing that the City followed Peters’ recommendation and installed the safety bars was plainly barred by Alaska R. Evid. 407. However, the redacted report was not excludable since it only indicated that the City's director of senior services suggested more safety bars. It did not reveal to the jury that the City followed her advice, and therefore was not excludable as evidence of the installation of the safety bars. The Court also held that the evidence of Peters’ contorted and scarred leg suggested that the superior court did not err in submitting the question of severe disfigurement to the jury. The statements made by Peters’ attorney during closing argument concerning liability and damages were not improper.