Citation. Baker v. Elcona Homes Corp., 588 F.2d 551, 1978)
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Brief Fact Summary.
Defendant Slabach’s truck collided with a vehicle carrying six people and killing five. At issue during the trial was who was negligent in proceeding through the intersection.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Public records are admissible as an exception to hearsay when they are “factual findings resulting from an investigation made pursuant to authority granted by law.”
Joseph Slabach was returning home after making a delivery for Elcona Homes Corporation, his employer. Slabach’s truck struck a vehicle carrying six people, killing five and seriously injuring one. Slabach was not seriously injured. The estates of the passengers of the car and the injured occupant filed suit against Slabach and Elcona Homes, Defendants. At issue was who had the right of way at the signal. Defendant Slabach testified that he could not see the light because he was blinded by the sun. The sole surviving occupant of the vehicle had no recollection of the accident. The jury held for the Defendants.
Was the police accident report properly allowed to be admitted into evidence?
Justice Engel issued the opinion for the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in affirming the judgment for Defendants and holding that the accident report was admissible as a public record.
The Court of Appeals found that the accident report was admissible as an exception to hearsay under the public record exception.