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Archive for the ‘FRE 1006’ Category

Case Summary: U-Haul Int’l; Authentication of Database Summaries and the Underlying Data

Posted by rjbiii on October 16, 2009

Lumbermens Insurance company objected to a Trial Court’s admission of computer generated summaries of payments for loss adjustments produced by another insurance company. Each summary related to a specific individual insurance claim. Lumbermens appealed to the ninth circuit.

Lumbermens first contended that the summaries are hearsay not fitting within the business records exception (FRE 803(6)) of the FRE, and therefore should have been excluded.
The court began by explaining that FRE 803(6) allows records of regularly conducted business activity meeting the criterial laid out as follows constitute an exception to the prohibition against hearsay evidence:

A . . . report, record, or data compilation, in any form, of acts, events, condition, opinions, or diagnoses, made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge, if kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity, and if it was the regular practice of that business activity to make the . . . report, record or data compilation, all as shown by the testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness . . . unless the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate lack of trustworthiness.

The court then reiterated its previous stance that it is immaterial that business records are maintained in a computer rather than in company books. The logical extension of this principle is that evidence that has been compiled from a computer database is also admissible under the business records exception, provided it meets the criterial of FRE 803(6). The court quoted several decisions, including Weinstein’s Federal Evidence, which stated that “The important issue is whether the database, not the printout from the database, was compiled in the ordinary course of business.”

The court concluded that the summaries fit squarely within the exception provided under FRE 803(6). It noted that the trial court had concluded:

  1. the underlying data was entered into the database at or near the time each payment was made;
  2. the persons entering the data had knowledge of the payments that precipitated the data entry;
  3. the data was kept in the course of regularly conducted business activity; and
  4. Mr. Matsush, the authenticating witness, was qualified to testify to this information.

The court concluded that nothing in the record indicated that any of these findings were clearly erroneous.

Mr. Matush’s testimony that data entry for each payment occurs at the time of the payment, and that employees routinely queried the database to generate summaries. The court continued it’s description:

Matush testified that he was familiar with the record-keeping practices of the company, testified regarding the computer system used to compile and search the insurance claim records, and testified regarding the process of querying the computer system to create the summaries admitted at trial. This description of the process used to create the summaries was sufficient to authenticate the evidence, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that a sufficient foundation was laid to admit the exhibits.

(Emphasis added).

Finally, the court was unconvinced by Lumbermens’ arguments that the summaries were inadmissible under FRE 1006, allowing summaries of “voluminous” writings to admitted only if the original data is accessible. The court stated that the summaries themselves are the business records, and so no additional data needed to be made available.

Posted in 9th Circuit, Admissibility of ESI, Authentication, Case Blurbs, Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace, Databases, FRE 1006, FRE 803, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Case Blurb: Lorraine; ESI Admissibility in General

Posted by rjbiii on September 17, 2007

It has been noted that “[t]he Federal Rules of Evidence … do not separately address the admissibility of electronic data.” Lorraine v. Markel Amer. Ins. Co., 241 F.R.D. 534 (D. Md. 2007) (quoting Adam Cohen & David Lender, ELECTRONIC DISCOVERY: LAW AND PRACTICE, § 6.01 (Aspen Publishers 2007).

However, “the Federal Rules of Evidence apply to computerized data as they do to other types of evidence.” Id. (quoting Manual for Complex Litigation § 11.447 (4th ed. 2004).

Indeed, Fed.R.Evid. 102 contemplates that the rules of evidence are flexible enough to accommodate future “growth and development” to address technical changes not in existence as of the codification of the rules themselves. Id.

Further, courts have had little difficulty using the existing rules of evidence to determine the admissibility of ESI, despite the technical challenges that sometimes must be overcome to do so. Id. (quoting In Re F.P., A Minor, 878 A.2d 91, 95 (Pa.Super.Ct.2005)).

Whether ESI is admissible into evidence is determined by a collection of evidence rules that present themselves like a series of hurdles to be cleared by the proponent of the evidence. Id. Failure to clear any of these evidentiary hurdles means that the evidence will not be admissible. Id. Whenever ESI is offered as evidence, either at trial or in summary judgment, the following evidence rules must be considered [Id.]:

  • Is the ESI relevant as determined by Rule 401 (does it have any tendency to make some fact that is of consequence to the litigation more or less probable than it otherwise would be);
  • If relevant under 401, is it authentic as required by Rule 901(a) (can the proponent show that the ESI is what it purports to be);
  • If the ESI is offered for its substantive truth, is it hearsay as defined by Rule 801, and if so, is it covered by an applicable exception (Rules 803, 804 and 807);
  • Is the form of the ESI that is being offered as evidence an original or duplicate under the original writing rule, of if not, is there admissible secondary evidence to prove the content of the ESI (Rules 1001-1008); and
  • Is the probative value of the ESI substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or one of the other factors identified by Rule 403, such that it should be excluded despite its relevance.

Posted in 3d Circuit, Admissibility of ESI, Case Blurbs, D. Md., FRE 1001, FRE 1002, FRE 1003, FRE 1004, FRE 1005, FRE 1006, FRE 1007, FRE 1008, FRE 102, FRE 401, FRE 803, FRE 804, FRE 807, FRE 901(a), Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm | 1 Comment »