Brief Fact Summary. The plaintiff sought to recover death benefits after her husband allegedly had an accident at work. Her testimony was the only evidence of such, and benefits rested on the admissibility of her testimony.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order for a statement to qualify under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule, it must be made in conjunction with an occurrence that can be independently proven by some means other than the statement itself.
In our opinion the question as to whether or not evidence is admissible as res gestae is a law question which an appellate court has the same power to pass on that it has to pass on any other law question.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the testimony by the plaintiff that her husband had told her that his head hurt terribly and that he had suffered an accident at work before dying was admissible under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule?
Held. No. In order for a statement to qualify as an excited utterance, the occurrence that caused the excitement must be provable independently of the hearsay statement itself.
Discussion. In this case, the excited utterance that the wife was attempting to testify to was caused by the very occurrence that she was seeking to prove. The occurrence was not provable in any other way, and thus the statement sought to prove too much.