Turbyfill v. International Harvester Co. Case Brief

Summary of Turbyfill v. International Harvester Co., 486 F.Supp. 232 (1980)

Facts: P suffered from severe burns while he was trying to start a truck with the assistance of D’s mechanic. D introduced into evidence mechanic’s statement that the mechanic wrote right after the accident and this statement was read to the jury. The mechanic had died before the trial began.

Issue: Was the admission of the written statement proper?

Holding: Yes

Rationale: Under Rule 804(b)(5), a statement not covered by any of the exceptions to the hearsay rule can still be admitted if 1. the statement is offered as evidence of a material fact; 2. the statement is more probative on the point for which it is offered than any other evidence which the proponent can procure through reasonable efforts; and 3. the general purposes of these rules and the interests of justice will best be served by admission of the statement into evidence. Here the statement concerns a material fact. The statement was written right after the accident and mechanic was alone in the room when wrote the statement. So considered trustworthy. Also, if mechanic was alive to testify but had forgotten about the incident, under Rule 803(5), statement would still have been admitted to refresh his memory. Therefore, mechanic’s statement was properly admitted into evidence.

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