Reed v. McCord Case Brief

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					Reed v. McCord 160 N.Y. 330, 54 N.E. 737 (1899)
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Reed was killed in an industrial accident, his estate sued McCord for wrongful death. o McCord was in charge of the work site. At an inquest by the coroner, McCord admitted the details of the accident. o Basically, McCord admitted that the accident occurred because a safety device was not properly positioned. At trial, Reed had the stenographer from the coroner's inquest testify to the things McCord admitted to. o McCord objected to the introduction of this evidence on the grounds that it was hearsay.  McCord wasn't personally present for the accident. His testimony to the coroner was simply what he had heard from other people.  McCord argued that since he'd only heard what happened from someone else, it was clearly hearsay. The Trial Judge allowed the evidence to be admitted. McCord was found negligent in the death of Reed. McCord appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed. o The Appellate Court agreed that if McCord had stated that, "he had heard the safety device was not properly positioned," then that would be hearsay. o However, McCord stated a fact, not that he'd heard something that other people believe to be a fact. That's an admission. o The Appellate Court found that in a civil action the admissions by a party of any fact material to the issue are always competent evidence against him.  The idea is that no party would be dumb enough to admit anything against themselves that they don't believe to be true. o The Appellate Court found that McCord could argue that his statements to the coroner shouldn't be given any weight by the jury, but they were still admissible.

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The basic rule is that admissions are admissible, even if they are statements of opinion and even if the declarant lacks personal knowledge. Btw, this case predated the FRE and was decided under the common law. o Under FRE 801(d)(2), admissions made by a partyopponent are not considered hearsay.


				
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