Business records “from another mother”

A & S Med. Supply, Inc. v MVAIC Ins. Co., 2019 NY Slip Op 29019 (App. Term 2d Dept. 2019)

I like the title.

(1) ” The Civil Court held that the documents were not admissible because the NYLB witness was unable to establish that the documents were admissible as business records pursuant to CPLR 4518. Although the court stated that the witness was credible, the court held that the issue to be resolved “was whether or not there was an insurance policy or coverage at the time of the accident” and that MVAIC had failed to sustain its burden. “

(2) ” The record establishes that NYLB seized records of LIIC after an order of liquidation of LIIC had been entered by the Supreme Court. Moreover, claims examiners employed by NYLB utilize the records to administer outstanding no-fault claims which have been submitted to LIIC. As NYLB incorporates and relies upon the records of LIIC, the records are admissible (see People v DiSalvo, 284 AD2d 547 [2001]; Plymouth Rock Fuel Corp. v Leucadia, Inc., 117 AD2d 727 [1986]; cf. West Val. Fire. Dist. No. 1 v Village of Springville, 294 AD2d 949 [2002]). “

What is funny, ironic or otherwise intriguing is that had Dan Medical continued to live on, we saw billing companies being able to lay the appropriate foundation for the records of their corporate clients. In another land not too far away, this incorporation doctrine plays out all the time in foreclosure actions. The servicer has access to the records of the bank and makes certain statements. There was also an awful case from the Appellate Term, First Department in the debt collection paradigm that takes this one step further. How can Midland funding lay a foundation for Capital One’s records? The relationship is that Midland purchased the debt at an auction. Anyway, intriguing nonetheless.

Florida

Charles Deng Acupuncture, P.C. v 21st Century Ins. Co., 2018 NY Slip Op 51815(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2018)

“Moreover, even if defendant had established that Florida law applies here, defendant relied upon an annexed payment log to demonstrate that policy limits in the amount of $10,000 had been exhausted; however, the affidavits submitted by defendant failed to establish that the payment log constituted evidence in admissible form (seeCPLR 4518 [a])”

Oh the business record rule.  Carriers need to make sure in the rare instance this issue comes up, the prefatory paragraph “2” business record syllogism is present.

Also, if you alleged that Florida law applies and you lose, get ready for $800 an hour attorneys fees.

Not necessarily inconsistent

Nationstar Mtge. LLC v Accardo, 2018 NY Slip Op 02276 (1st Dept. 2018)

Oh let us say you put the wrong denial date in your motion but correctly set forth the mailing procedure – placed in the bin, postaged, sent out that day or the next day and the affiant has personal knowledge of the mailing procedure.  Bonus points if you say the affiant checked the accuracy of the addresses and (s)he ensured compliance with the procedures and did comply.

Now, you get called out because you made a typographical error.  You fix the affidavit in Reply or make a new motion and someone accuses you of making inconsistent statements.  Now what?

“In opposition, defendant failed to raise an issue of fact. Contrary to his contention, plaintiff’s affidavit and attached documents are not hearsay; the affiant said that he personally reviewed loan records kept in the ordinary course of business and that he was personally familiar with plaintiff’s record-keeping practices (see Bank of Am., N.A. v Brannon, 156 AD3d 1, 8 [1st Dept 2017]). Inconsistent statements in a prior affidavit submitted by plaintiff do not suffice, because they are contradicted by documentary evidence (see Bank of N.Y. v 125-127 Allen St. Assoc., 59 AD3d 220 [1st Dept 2009])”

Familiarity with predecessor business record practice

US Bank N.A. v Ballin, 2018 NY Slip Op 01212 (2d Dept 2018)

“Thrasher averred, in relevant part, that her affidavit was based upon her review of Ocwen’s business records, and that upon review of such records, the note was physically transferred to the plaintiff on December 1, 2006. The plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the records relied upon by Thrasher were admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule (see CPLR 4518[a]) because Thrasher, an employee of Ocwen, did not attest that she was personally familiar with the plaintiff’s record-keeping practices and procedures (see Bank of N.Y. v Willis, 150 AD3d 652, 653; Arch Bay Holdings, LLC v Albanese, 146 AD3d 849, 852; Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Mercius, 138 AD3d 650, 652). Thus, the plaintiff failed to establish, prima facie, that it had standing to commence the action.”

The question as you could imagine is what is sufficient to prove sufficiency of a prior entities practices.

Mailing – CPLR 4518(a)

Bank of Am., N.A. v Wheatley, 2018 NY Slip Op 01175 (2d Dept. 2018)

“The plaintiff failed to make the requisite showing. In support of its motion, the plaintiff submitted the affidavit of Sherry Benight, an officer of Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. (hereinafter SPS), the loan servicer, along with two copies of a 90-day notice addressed to the defendant and a proof of filing statement pursuant to RPAPL 1306 from the New York State Banking Department. While mailing may be proved by documents meeting the requirements of the “business records exception” to the hearsay rule, Benight, in her affidavit, did not aver that she was familiar with the plaintiff’s mailing practices and procedures, and therefore did not establish proof of a standard office practice and procedure designed to ensure that items are properly addressed and mailed”

I have to imagine this would be a mailing ledger or some other documentary proof showing that an item was mailed?  A little different than in the no-fault scenario

 

Hearsay – business records

People v Jones, 2018 NY Slip Op 00710 (4th Dept. 2018)

“First, the court “erred in admitting in evidence a printout of electronic data that was displayed on a computer screen [after] defendant presented a check, the allegedly forged instrument, to a bank teller. The People failed to establish that the printout falls within the business records exception to the hearsay rule . . . [because they] presented no evidence that the data displayed on the computer screen, resulting in the printout, was entered in the regular course of business” (People v Manges, 67 AD3d 1328, 1329 [4th Dept 2009]; see generally CPLR 4518 [a]; CPL 60.10). Moreover, although the printout was initially admitted only for the limited purpose of establishing “that the statement [reflected therein] was made,” the court thereafter instructed the jury that the printout was permitted to show that the person with the Social Security number tendered by defendant was already a customer at the bank, thereby allowing the jury to consider the printout for the truth of the matter asserted therein. As such, the People were still obligated to establish that the ” entrant was under a business duty to obtain and record the statement [reflected in the printout]’ ” (People v Patterson, 28 NY3d 544, 550 [2016], quoting Hayes v State of New York, 50 AD2d 693, 693-694 [3d Dept 1975], affd 40 NY2d 1044 [1976]; see Matter of Leon RR, 48 NY2d 117, 122 [1979]; People v McKinley, 72 AD2d 470, 476-477 [4th Dept 1980]). The People failed to fulfill that foundational requirement here (see Manges, 67 AD3d at 1329; compare Patterson, 28 NY3d at 547-548; People v Ferone, 136 AD2d 282, 289-290 [2d Dept 1988], lv denied 72 NY2d 859 [1988]).

Second, the court improperly admitted an investigator’s testimony about the results of a search he ran in a credit bureau’s commercial database for email addresses and a telephone [*2]number contained in a cover letter that enclosed the counterfeit check defendant tried to cash. The People failed to establish the requisite foundation for this testimony inasmuch as the investigator did not testify that he “is familiar with the practices of [the] company that produced the records at issue” and that he “generally relies upon such records” (People v Brown, 13 NY3d 332, 341 [2009]; see People v Cratsley, 86 NY2d 81, 89 [1995]).”

The world of business records, duties to impart and familiarity with the original entrants business practices.

A business record can be anything

Here is an irony. Now that the notion of a business record plays a minimal role in no-fault practice, where do we now see intense skirmishes over this item?  Mortgage Foreclosure actions and credit card collections.  Oh and here is more irony for those who have been in the no-fault game for too long.  Which Department requires a more particularized affidavit to satisfy 4518(a), and which requires watered down, conclusory assertions?    the answer is below, but you should know it already.

Bank of Am., N.A. v Brannon, 2017 NY Slip Op 07578 (1st Dept. 2017)

(1) “Furthermore, under the circumstances before us, the flaws in the notarization of Mattera’s affidavit are not fatal to plaintiff’s summary judgment motion (see Matter of Cubisino v Cohen, 47 NYS2d 952, 953-954 [Sup Ct, NY County 1944], affd 267 App Div 891 [1st Dept 1944]; Fisher v Bloomberg, 74 App Div 368, 369 [1st Dept 1902]; see also Sirico v F.G.G. Prods., Inc., 71 AD3d 429, 434 [1st Dept 2010]; Todd v Green, 122 AD3d 831, 832 [2d Dept 2014]). Pursuant to CPLR 2101(f) the court can disregard a defect in the Uniform Certificate of Acknowledgment unless a defendant has demonstrated that a substantial right of hers has been prejudiced. As no prejudice has been shown by defendant, the alleged defect should have been disregarded”

This is a bonus citation to those who enjoy arguing that irregularities in the notarization voids an affidavit.  It is not related to the substance of the post.

(2) “Furthermore, CLPR 4518(a) does not require a person to have personal knowledge of each of the facts asserted in the affidavit of merit put before the court as evidence of a defendant’s default in payment (see Citigroup v Kopelowitz, 147 AD3d 1014, 1015 [2d Dept 2017] [“There is no requirement that a plaintiff in a foreclosure action rely on any particular set of business records to establish a prima facie case, so long as the plaintiff satisfies the admissibility requirements of CPLR 4518(a), and the records themselves actually evince the facts for which they are relied upon”]; Citibank, NA v Abrams, 144 AD3d 1212 [3d Dept 2016]). Thus, in seeking to enforce a loan, an assignee of an original lender or intermediary predecessor may use an original loan file prepared by its assignor, when it relies upon those records in the regular course of its business (see Landmark Capital Invs., Inc. v Li-Shan Wang, 94 AD3d 418 [1st Dept 2012]; see also State of New York v 158th St. & Riverside Dr. Hous. Co., Inc., 100 AD3d 1293, 1296 [3d Dept 2012], lv denied 20 NY3d 858 [2013] [records admissible “if the recipient can establish personal knowledge of the maker’s business practices and procedures, or that the records provided by the maker were incorporated into the recipient’s own records or routinely relied upon by the recipient in its business”]).”

(2a)

“Here, Mattera, a representative of IFS, which has held the note and mortgage since November 2009, satisfied these standards, stating that

“I make this affidavit with personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances herein which are derived from personal knowledge and/or an independent examination of the financial books and business records made in the ordinary course of business maintained by or on behalf of Plaintiff to be an accurate and fair representation of the occurrences with which the record purports to represent as well as business records relative to the within litigation. I am familiar with the record keeping systems that Plaintiff and/or its loan servicer uses to record and create information related to the residential mortgage loans that it services, including the processes by which Plaintiff and/or its loan servicer obtains the loan information in those systems. While many of those processes are automated, where the employees of the Plaintiff and/or its servicer manually enter data relating to loans on those systems, they have personal knowledge of that information and enter it into the system at or near the time they acquired that knowledge. The records relied upon are made in the regular course of business made at or about the time the event is being recorded, systematically made for the conduct of business and are relied upon as the accurate routine reflections of the day-to-day regularly conducted business activity and so they may be relied upon as being truthful and accurate. In connection with making this affidavit, I have personally examined these business records reflecting data and information as of January 31, 2015. . . .

* * *

“I have also reviewed Plaintiffs books and records, and the payments of principal and interest made by Defendant(s) to Plaintiff. Any allegation of either full or timely payment after default is simply not substantiated by these records. All notices of default as required in the Note have been sent as prescribed in the Mortgage . . . . All time frames set forth in the notice and /or notices, as required by the Mortgage have elapsed and the Defendant(s) have not taken the necessary action to correct the default and or defaults as specified herein and in the Complaint. . . .

* * *

“The simple uncontroverted fact is that Defendant, SARAH BRANNON, was loaned and did receive $360,000.00, as is confirmed by the Mortgage and Note. Defendant did not uphold this obligation, to the detriment of Plaintiff. Defendant breached his/her obligations under the Mortgage by failing to successfully tender funds for the August 1, 2007 payment and all successive payments thereafter.”

(2b) “While the dissent finds the affidavit deficient because Mattera did not state that he was familiar with the records of GE, the Default Notice was sent by Litton, plaintiff’s agent, and Mattera stated that he was familiar with the recordkeeping systems that plaintiff and/or its loan servicer used. He also stated that he personally reviewed plaintiff’s books and records, and the payments made by defendant”

What was missing from what was a 2-3 page affidavit?  How was the affiant familiar with the antecedent entity’s record keeping?  The dissent harped on this issue and, under a technical reading of 4518(a), the dissent is correct.  The First Department accepts the legal fiction that a current entity can have personal knowledge about a prior entity and, therefore, establish the requisite personal knowledge to substantiate a business record.  But in my mind, if you are going to head down this path, take ownership of it.  Do not hide behind cases that are not directly on point.

Business records again

Cadlerock Joint Venture, L.P. v Trombley, 2017 NY Slip Op 03927 (2d Dept. 2017)

“Contrary to the Supreme Court’s determination, the plaintiff failed to demonstrate the admissibility of the records relied upon by its account officer under the business records exception to the hearsay rule (see CPLR 4518[a]), and thus, failed to establish a default in payment under the note. “A proper foundation for the admission of a business record must be provided by someone with personal knowledge of the maker’s business practices and procedures” (Citibank, N.A. v Cabrera, 130 AD3d 861, 861). Here, the plaintiff’s account officer did not allege that she was personally familiar with HSBC’s record keeping practices and procedures, and thus failed to lay a proper foundation for the admission of records concerning the payment history under the note”

The assignee to the record cannot articulate how the assignor generated the note.

Intersection between collateral source hearing and no-fault

 

Having been involved in the thicket of the collateral source hearing, it can be very frustrating to obtain the information and evidence necessary to oftentimes reduce the medical and wage portion of a verdict that is being compensated through another source.

(1)

Here, contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, the Workers’ Compensation and Social Security benefits that she was receiving as a result of the 2002 accident constitute a collateral source that could potentially offset her award from this action to recover damages in connection with the 2010 accident. Both the plaintiff and her vocational rehabilitation specialist testified that the plaintiff’s benefits would have ceased if she had begun to work again. Therefore, although the

(1) “plaintiff was not receiving Workers’ Compensation and Social Security benefits as a result of the 2010 accident, under the unique circumstances of this case, those benefits constituted collateral sources that could potentially offset her award”

(2) “However, the defendants, who did not submit any documentation from the Social Security Administration and who elicited the plaintiff’s inconsistent testimony as to the amounts she was receiving per month in Social Security disability benefits, failed to establish with reasonable certainty that the plaintiff had been receiving, or would continue to receive, Social Security disability payments”

(3) “Additionally, the defendants failed to establish with reasonable certainty that they paid for some of the plaintiff’s past medical bills through no-fault insurance. At the collateral source hearing, the plaintiff testified that she had taken out a loan of approximately $60,000 to pay for some of her treatment, and that some of her treating physicians had taken liens against her. Further, the defendants offered only copies of the plaintiff’s medical bills without any testimony from an expert or no-fault insurance adjuster to explain them (see Lahren v Boehmer Transp. Corp., 49 AD3d 1186, 1188). This evidence was insufficient to establish with reasonable certainty which portions, if any, of the plaintiff’s bills the defendants had paid”

Here, the Defendant’s failed to obtain the SSD records and therefore could not reduce past wages.  More problematic, Defendant failed to subpoena that no-fault carrier in order to obtain the proofs necessary to show the portions of the past medical billings that were paid or should have been paid under the PIP policy.

The issue in collateral source hearings is that you are attempting to obtain evidence, never received in disclosure after you got the hell beaten out of you at trial.  In addition, you need to prove the issue through clear and convincing evidence.  Not an easy task.

Police report and CPLR 4518(a)

Shehab v Powers, 2017 NY Slip Op 03790 (2d Dept. 2017)

“Information in a police accident report is “admissible as a business record so long as the report is made based upon the officer’s personal observations and while carrying out police duties” (Memenza v Cole, 131 AD3d 1020, 1021; see Matter of Chu Man Woo v Qiong Yun Xi, 106 [*2]AD3d 818, 819; Yeargans v Yeargans, 24 AD2d 280, 282). Conversely, information in a police accident report is inadmissible where the information came from witnesses not engaged in the police business in the course of which the memorandum was made, and the information does not qualify under any other hearsay exception (see Matter of Chu Man Woo v Qiong Yun Xi, 106 AD3d at 819; Holliday v Hudson Armored Car & Courier Serv., 301 AD2d 392, 396).

Here, the Supreme Court did not err in redacting certain information from the police report with respect to the location of the accident. There was insufficient evidence at trial to demonstrate that the disputed information was derived from the personal observations of the responding police officer, who did not witness the subject accident (see Wynn v Motor Veh. Acc. Indem. Corp., 137 AD3d 779, 780; Memenza v Cole, 131 AD3d at 1022; Noakees v Rosa, 54 AD3d 317, 318; Gagliano v Vaccaro, 97 AD2d 430). Moreover, the court did not err in precluding the plaintiff from cross-examining his own witness, the responding police officer, with respect to the accident location”

The police report many times is a vital piece of information in PI cases.  The rules regarding their admissibility becomes a hot bed of issues.