Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff fell in the parking lot of the defendant, Vinyard Funeral Home, Inc’s (the “defendant”) funeral home. Plaintiff’s fall occurred when the paved surface on which she was walking changed from a rough, unfinished one, to a slick, sealed surface that was slippery when, as it was that evening, wet.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. When evidence is admitted because of the relevance of the fact that the statement was made, that evidence is not hearsay and may be considered substantively.
Issue. Whether evidence of the condition of the parking lot was sufficient to show both that it was (1) unreasonably dangerous to visitors, and (2) not discoverable by visitors?
Whether statements made by witnesses at trial regarding complaints they had received from others about the parking lot’s slickness were hearsay, and thus improperly admitted?
Whether evidence of other accidents in different areas of the parking lot was improperly admitted?
Held. The evidence of fourteen percent grade and a smooth, wet surface were enough for a jury to find unreasonable danger. The change in surface from rough to smooth and the dim lighting were enough for a jury to find that the condition was difficult to detect.
No. The statements were admitted to show knowledge by the defendant that the surface was slippery when wet, not to show that the surface was in fact slick when wet.
No. Evidence of other accidents may be admitted when the court holds that its probative value outweighs any danger of unfair surprise or confusion of the issues, and adequate opportunity for cross examination of the witness is afforded.
If the fact that a statement has been made is relevant to a material issue in the case and it is immaterial that the statement be true or false, the hearsay rule does not apply and the statement may be shown.View Full Point of Law