In the first fact pattern, Quincy’s physician is testifying at trial that Quincy told him an alternate causative pattern to the events that lead to the court trial. This evidence is not hearsay due to an exception that exists for the rule against hearsay. The specific rule is 803 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, whereby under section (4) statements made for towards the goal of medical diagnosis or treatment are not hearsay. Quincy told his physician the background to his fall that provides an alternate theory for the cause of his fall. The recounting of symptoms is necessary in order to make a proper diagnosis and to treat Quincy properly, because rather than just blunt trauma from the fall, he may also need neurological intervention to treat the root cause of the fall. Since the medical issues are at the heart of the trial, there is no privilege that can be invoked, and the statement made at trial is not hearsay due to the exception found in Rule 803.
In the second scenario, Quincy’s housekeeper is on the witness stand and she states that Quincy told her that his “back was really killing me after the fall. The pain was excruciating. I thought it would be a miracle if I ever stood up again.” This statement is hearsay and should appropriately be excluded from the trial transcript. The potential exception to the hearsay rule would be the Present Sense Impression found in Rule 803(1). A present sense impression requires that the statement by the declarant be made contemporaneously with the events, or shortly thereafter. The timeframe that progressed between the event and the statement in the scenario was two months, and it is likely that it didn’t occur soon enough after the fall to be considered a present sense impression. It might be that it would fall under the exception to hearsay found in 803(2), the excited utterance. It is likely not an excited utterance though since it doesn’t seem to be spontaneous, in fact, the language seems to have been thought out and deliberate. Thus Edward’s attorney’s objection should be sustained and the testimony struck from the record.
In the final fact pattern, Barnett, a witness to an auto accident testifies that Daniels had driven through a red light. It turns out that prior to his testimony he had told a friend of his that he was not sure if the light was red or yellow at the time that Daniels drove through it. This is not an instance of hearsay testimony due to Rule 801 (d)(1)(C). It is not hearsay because Barnett can be cross-examined by opposing counsel with regards to the statement, and the person that the statement was made to is identified and could be subpoenaed. Therefore, I believe it is not hearsay.
Peggy Karley, Joanne Banker Hames and Paul A. Sukys, ”The Courts and Jurisdiction”
in Civil Litigation (Clifton Park: Delmar, 2012)
“Federal Rules of Evidence,” Cornell University Law School: Legal Information Institute
accessed August 19, 2013, http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre