Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Herzig v. Swift & Co. case brief

Herzig v. Swift & Co. case brief summary
146 F.2d 444 (2d Cir. 1945)

Plaintiff appealed from an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that did not allow oral testimony to be presented for valuation of partnership and that did not allow jury to calculate value of decedent's estate.

In a case to value decedent's estate, trial court refused oral testimony on earnings of partnership and did not allow the jury to calculate the value of decedent's estate. Plaintiff appealed, and the court reversed.

The court held that in the federal system, the "best evidence rule" only required writings to be presented where their contents were to be proved.


  • Proving the earnings of a partnership did not require the admission of the partnership's books of account. 
  • Further, the court held that the question of the value of the decedent's estate should have gone to the jury because evidence as to the health, habits, and industry of the decedent was sufficient for the jury to decide this issue.
Order reversed on the grounds that the best evidence rule did not require partnership's books of account to be admitted to prove partnership earnings and evidence regarding value of decedent's estate was sufficient to allow issue to go to jury.

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