8.3 Examples of Strict Construction
The exclusion of the nurse in Reddy as a non-party, although obviously very much associated with the party, illustrates the narrow interpretation of the statute. In Trupp v. Wolff, the Court of Special Appeals listed some witnesses who had been permitted to testify regardless of the statute:
1. “the husband of a party who would obviously benefit emotionally as well as tangibly by his wife’s recovery, Marx v. Marx, 127 Md. 373;
2. a stockholder of a party corporation notwithstanding obvious similarity of tangible interest differing in degree only, Downs v. Md. & Del. Ry. Co., 37 Md. 100;
3. an officer of a corporation which was a party, Guernsey v. Loyola Fed., etc., supra;
4. witnesses, not parties to the suit, who were stockholders or directors of a party corporation, Whitney v. Halibut, 235 Md. 517;
5. legatees under a will where the estate would benefit from a recovery by the executor, Schaefer v. Spear, Ex’r., 148 Md. 620;
6. a daughter named as party defendant called by the plaintiff mother notwithstanding her “identity of interest” with the “opposite party” calling her, Cross v. Iler, 103 Md. 592;
7. a son where his mother’s estate was suing his creditors to enforce a prior lien on stock in his name. In spite of the obvious benefit to the son who was named a party defendant by the estate, he was permitted to testify when called by opposite party. Duvall, Adm’r v. Hambleton & Co., 98 Md. 12.” (Trupp at 599-600).
In Farah v. Stout, the purported caretaker’s husband was not permitted to testify, not because of his indirect interest as the husband, but because he had originally claimed to be directly owed money from the decedent in the original pleading. His amendment to the pleading to remove himself as a party plaintiff was to no avail.