"If You're Gonna Get Hit, Get Hit by a Rolls"

 

D's Rolls-Royce strikes P while P is crossing the street in a crosswalk with the light. D's chauffeur, C, who was in the Rolls at the time, and P are the only eyewitnesses. P has amnesia as a result of the accident and cannot remember what occurred. P, by his guardian, G, sues D for damages. The issue is C's negligence vel non.

(1) At trial, P offers a letter by D properly authenticated, which says in part, "C's negligence caused P's injuries." D objects. What ruling and why?

(2) If P rests after the above and D moves for a nonsuit, what ruling and why?

(3) P also calls W, a bystander who ran up after the accident, to testify that C said to P, "I'm D's chauffeur. It was all my fault. Don't worry, I'm sure that D will make this good." D objects. What ruling and why?

What indicia of reliability inhere in admissions? What justifications are there for permitting the use of hearsay admissions? Are these justifications sufficiently strong to override even nonhearsay limitations on the admission of evidence, such as the firsthand knowledge rule (Rule 602), the opinion rule (Rule 701), and the rule requiring the production of the original document (Rule 1002)? Why?



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