Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stroud v. Cook case brief

Stroud v. Cook case brief summary
931 F.Supp. 733 (D. Nev. 1996)

An action arose out of a collision between vehicles driven by plaintiff and defendant one, and the subsequent, allegedly resultant collision between plaintiff's vehicle and an automobile driven by defendant two. Defendant one filed a motion in limine, seeking to exclude from evidence a judgment of conviction entered against him for violation of Nev. Rev. Stat. § 484.363.

Plaintiff sought to introduce the judgment of conviction as evidence of defendant one's negligence on the occasion of the accident. The court denied the motion.


  • Misdemeanor convictions were admissible in evidence under Fed. R. Civ. P. 803's public records exception to the hearsay rule. 
  • Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41.133 appeared to require the admission in evidence of the judgment of conviction under Nev. Rev. Stat. § 484.363 for failing to use due care in the operation of a motor vehicle. 
  • Failure to use due care was an element of plaintiff's claim of negligence. 
  • The judgment of conviction was therefore highly relevant to the negligent claim. 
  • A federal diversity court had to apply the substantive law of the forum state. 
  • Nev. Rev. Stat. § 41.133 essentially created a presumption that a person convicted of crime, which resulted in injury, was civilly liable to the injured person. 
  • Where a state statute such as § 41.133 was intimately bound up with the rights and obligations being asserted, the doctrine of Erie mandated the application of the state rule in a diversity case. 
  • The judgment of conviction should be admitted in evidence.
The court denied defendant one's motion in limine.

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