Thursday, September 6, 2012

Palmer v. Hoffman case brief

  1. Palmer v. Hoffman (US 1943)
    1. Δ railroad tried to introduce a report it made exculpating it from responsibility for an accident
    2. holding: ordinary business of a RR is running trains, not investigating accidents
      • too many credibility problems in the report, given incentives of the RR, so 803(6) doesn’t apply
    3. problems with this holding – it is in the business of businesses to investigate accidents involving their equipment/etc. – this opinion had blanket effect of saying that all accident reports by companies are inadmissible
      • many felt that this was going too far – that this should be a discretionary exception to the 803(6) exception
    4. response to Palmer – FRE and cases following it don’t exclude all such accident reports; instead, make admission of such reports contingent on trustworthiness factor
      • exclusion should turn on fact that this particular report was untrustworthy, not that all accident reports by companies are untrustworthy

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