Turbyfill v. International Harvester Co. 486 F.Supp. 232 (1980)
Turbyfill was buying a truck from International
Harvester. The truck wouldn't start. A mechanic named Anderson was
helping Turbyfill get the truck started when there was a fire, injuring
Right after the accident, Anderson's manager told Anderson to go into an empty room and write down a statement of exactly what happened
(which he did).
Soon after, Anderson died.
Turbyfill sued Harvester.
At trial, Harvester attempted to introduce Anderson's written statement into evidence.
Turbyfill objected on the grounds that the out-of-court
statement was hearsay.
Turbyfill argued that the evidence was being offered to
show the proof of the matter asserted within and should be excluded
under FRE 801(c) and FRE 802.
Harvester argued that the statement was not hearsay
because it was covered by the residual exception in FRE
Btw, FRE 804(b)(5) is now known as FRE 807.
FRE 807 says that, "a statement not
specifically covered by FRE 803 or FRE 804 but having
equivalent circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness, is not excluded
by the hearsay rule, if the court determines that:
The statement is offered as evidence of a material
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
The general purposes of these rules and the interests
of justice will best be served by admission of the statement into
The Trial Judge allowed the statement to be admitted.
The Trial Court found for Harvester. Turbyfill appealed
on the grounds that the statement had been improperly admitted.
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The Appellate Court found that Anderson's statement:
Had circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness
equivalent to other hearsay exceptions.
Was more probative on the points for which it was
offered than any other evidence that Harvester could obtain.
Clearly served the interest of justice.
If Anderson was still alive and testified about the
record, then it would have been admissible as a past recollection
One could argue that Anderson thought he might get sued or
fired and therefore had motive to lie. Is it really trustworthy?
If this type of hearsay is admitted, then what is left of
the hearsay prohibition?