The denial need not be authenticated as a busines record

Jesa Med. Supply, Inc. v NYC Tr. Auth., 2013 NY Slip Op 52007(U)(App. Ter 2d Dept. 2013)

“Contrary to plaintiff’s argument, defendant was not required to establish that its denial of claim forms constituted evidence in admissible form pursuant to the business records exception to the rule against hearsay as set forth in CPLR 4518. Defendant did not submit the denials as memoranda “of any act, transaction, occurrence, or event” recorded therein (CPLR 4518 [a]; see Five Boro Psychological Servs., P.C. v Progressive Northeastern Ins. Co., 27 Misc 3d 141[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 50991[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2010]; Quality Health Prods., Inc. v NY Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 27 Misc 3d 141[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 50990[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2010]).”

Claims documents considered as business records and unsuccessful mailing challenge

Preferred Mut. Ins. Co. v Donnelly, 2013 NY Slip Op 07283 (4th Dept. 2013)

(1) CPLR 4518 (a) challenge:

“We conclude that plaintiff met its initial burden of establishing that the lead exclusion was properly added to the policy and that notice of the lead exclusion amendment was provided to Donnelly. Contrary to Jackson’s contention, plaintiff submitted evidence in admissible form to support its motion. Although many of the documents appended to the attorney affirmation were not in admissible form (see KOI Med. Acupuncture v State Farm Ins. Co., 16 Misc 3d 1135[A], 2007 NY Slip Op 51705[U], *2; see generally CPLR 4518 [a]), we conclude that the affidavit from plaintiff’s Office Services Supervisor was sufficient to lay a proper foundation for the business records attached thereto (see CPLR 4518 [a]; cf. Unifund CCR Partners v [*2]Youngman, 89 AD3d 1377, 1378, lv denied19 NY3d 803; Palisades Collection, LLC v Kedik, 67 AD3d 1329, 1330-1331; see generally People v Kennedy, 68 NY2d 569, 579-580).”

(2) Mailing challenge:

This is interesting and should find its way in motions where mailing is challenged.  Perhaps another dilution in the “art” of mailing litigation, and I would argue a significant lowering of the mailing hurdle

“With respect to the substance of the attachments, we conclude that the documents established as a matter of law that the lead exclusion was properly added to Donnelly’s insurance policy and that Donnelly was notified of that amendment. Although plaintiff did not submit evidence that the notice of the amendment was mailed to Donnelly and Donnelly could not recall receiving the notice, plaintiff submitted evidence in admissible form “of a standard office practice or procedure designed to ensure that items are properly addressed and mailed,” thereby giving rise to a presumption that Donnelly received the notice (Residential Holding Corp. v Scottsdale Ins. Co., 286 AD2d 679, 680; see Nocella v Fort Dearborn Life Ins. Co. of N.Y., 99 AD3d 877, 878). Contrary to the contention of Jackson, the evidence submitted by plaintiff established that the “office practice [was] geared so as to ensure the likelihood that [the] notice[s of amendment] . . . [were] always properly addressed and mailed” (Nassau Ins. Co. v Murray, 46 NY2d 828, 830; see Badio v Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 12 AD3d 229, 229-230; cf. Hospital for Joint Diseases v Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 284 AD2d 374, 375). Specifically, the evidence established the procedure used by plaintiff for generating notices whenever an insurance policy was amended, and the documentary evidence established that a notice was generated for Donnelly’s policy during the year in which the lead exclusion was added to the policy. In addition, plaintiff submitted evidence that it placed the notices in envelopes with windows so that the address on the notice was the one used for mailing. The envelopes were then delivered to the mail room, where they were sealed and the appropriate postage was added. Thereafter, the mail was hand delivered to the post office that was located adjacent to plaintiff’s parking lot.”

“While we agree with the dissent that there was no evidence submitted of a practice to ensure that the number of envelopes delivered to the mail room corresponded to the number of envelopes delivered to the post office (see Clark v Columbian Mut. Life Ins. Co., 221 AD2d 227, 228-229; Matter of Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co. [Collins], 135 AD2d 373, 375; cf. Matter of State-Wide Ins. Co. v Simmons, 201 AD2d 655, 656), we do not deem the absence of such evidence fatal to plaintiff’s motion in light of the detailed description of all of the other office practices geared toward ensuring the likelihood that the notices were always properly addressed and mailed (cf. Hospital for Joint Diseases, 284 AD2d at 375; L.Z.R. Raphaely Galleries v Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co., 191 AD2d 680, 681-682; Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co., 135 AD2d at 374-375). Additionally, “[a]s long as there is adequate [evidence from] one with personal knowledge of the regular course of business, it is not necessary to solicit testimony from the actual employee in charge of the mailing” (Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co., 135 AD2d at 375). Here, plaintiff submitted evidence from someone with personal knowledge concerning the specific procedures used by plaintiff to ensure that the addresses on the envelopes were accurate and concerning the “office procedures relating to the delivery of mail to the post office” (id.). In opposition to the motion, Jackson failed to raise a triable issue of fact “that [the] routine office practice was not followed or was so careless that it would be unreasonable to assume that the notice was mailed” (Nassau Ins. Co., 46 NY2d at 830).”


Amended motion/Admissible Reply papers/Defects in affidavits/delay letter vs. verification requests

Colonia Med., P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2013 NY Slip Op 51266(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2013)

“Plaintiff opposed defendant’s motion, arguing that the IME doctor’s affidavit, which defendant had submitted in support of its IME nonappearance defense, was incomplete and unsigned, and cross-moved for summary judgment. Subsequently, defendant served what it denominated an amended motion for summary judgment, which included the IME doctor’s complete affidavit. Plaintiff submitted opposition thereto. The Civil Court deemed defendant’s amended motion to be its reply papers. The Civil Court found that plaintiff and defendant had established their prima facie cases and that the sole issues to be determined at trial were “proper notice of the IME, medical necessity and fee schedule.”

“In our opinion, the Civil Court properly considered defendant’s amended motion to be a reply since the substance of defendant’s papers was unchanged and the papers merely corrected a technical defect in the affidavit of defendant’s IME doctor (see CPLR 2001). Furthermore, plaintiff submitted a response to defendant’s reply papers (see Zernitsky v Shurka, 94 AD3d 875 [2012]; Hoffman v Kessler, 28 AD3d 718 [2006]).”

“[t]here was a discrepancy in the recitation by the IME doctor of the address at which the assignor was to have been examined.” (typographical error)

“A review of defendant’s letters to plaintiff reveals that the letters merely notified plaintiff that defendant was delaying consideration of the claims pending investigation into the motor vehicle accident at issue. As a result, these delay letters did not toll the statutory time period within which defendant was required to pay or deny those claims ” (A delay must ask for something)

“Contrary to the implicit determination of the Civil Court, the record shows that plaintiff did not establish its prima facie case ”

This case starts with some procedural history.  It then states that IME affidavits are not probative based upon inconsistencies and then it ends with a statement that a “delay letter” is insufficient to toll the period to pay or deny a claim.   Finally, the affidavit was insufficient to establish a business record foundation (CPLR 4518[a])


All you wanted to know about 4518(a) but were afraid to ask

All Borough Group Med. Supply, Inc. v Geico Ins. Co., 2013 NY Slip Op 23262 (App. Term 2d Dept. 2013)

“At the outset, we note that plaintiff was not required to lay a CPLR 4518 (a) foundation for the assignment of benefits form. An assignment of benefits is not hearsay; like a contract, it has independent legal significance and need only be authenticated to be admisible (sic)(see Kepner-Tregoe, Inc. v Leadership Software, Inc., 12 F3d 527, 540 [5th Cir 1994]; see also Beal-Medea Prods., Inc. v NY Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 36 Misc 3d 135[A], 2012 NY Slip Op 51347[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2012]). However, plaintiff was attempting to use the delivery receipt and claim form to prove the transactions recorded therein, and so was required to lay a CPLR 4518 (a) foundation for those records.”

“If a record is made in the regular course of business, it is the regular course of business to make the record, and the record is made at or about the time of the event being recorded, the record can be admitted into evidence pursuant to the CPLR 4518 (a) business records hearsay exception.” [Court gives you the questions to ask to lay a 4518(a) foundation.]

“A review of the evidence adduced at trial shows that plaintiff’s witness was employed by plaintiff prior to, during, and after the time that defendant had provided the supplies to plaintiff. The witness testified he and another person who was no longer employed by plaintiff had generated all of plaintiff’s claim forms, and that his father, who was the owner of plaintiff, had generated the delivery receipts. The witness also testified, albeit inartfully, that he was familiar with plaintiff’s office routine and that plaintiff’s delivery receipts and claim forms were routinely and contemporaneously made in the course of plaintiff’s business, and that it is plaintiff’s regular business practice to make such records.”

“In addition, CPLR 4518 (a) provides that a witness’s lack of personal knowledge affects the weight of the record, not the admissibility of the record.”

So consider this a basic evidence lesson from the Appellate Term.

The doctor himself could not get his bills into evidence

 AR Med. Rehabilitation, P.C. v GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 2013 NY Slip Op 50510(U)(Civ. Ct. Kings Co. 2013)

“The court finds that Dr. Rozenberg’s testimony was insufficient to lay the foundation necessary to establish that plaintiff’s billing documents are business records. Dr. Rozenberg indicated that although Kevi Management Company (“Kevi”) was located in the same building, it was a separate entity that handled all of the collection and billing tasks for AR Medical Rehabilitation (71, 81-82). Dr. Rozenberg stated that Kevi employees generated the bills and that he would sign or stamp them, but the witness failed to adequately describe the procedure that Kevi employees followed when creating bills (tr 25-26, 71). The doctor testified that after receiving the signed or stamped bill, a Kevi employee (1) inserted bills in an envelope, (2) placed the envelopes in a plastic bag, (3) delivered the entire package to the post office for mailing, then (4) recorded the mailing of each bill in a notebook that was kept in the office (tr 24, 28).”

[There were numerous deviations from the above procedures].

“Based upon the inconsistencies and gaps in Dr. Rozenberg’s testimony and the plaintiff’s failure to produce a witness from the Kevi Company, the court finds that plaintiff failed to lay the proper foundation for admission of the documents in evidence under the business record exception to the hearsay rule (see CPLR 4518[a]; compare Art of Healing Medicine, P.C. v Travelers Home and Marine Ins. Co., 55 AD3d 644 [2d Dept 2008] and Viviane Etienne Medical Care, P.C., 31 Misc 3d 21 [2d 11 13 Jud Dists 2011] with Andrew Carothers, M.D., P.C. v Geico Indemnity Co., 79 AD3d 864 [2d Dept 2010]. Consequently, the court hereby rescinds its decision to admit plaintiff’s bills into evidence as business records on the day of trial.”

Problems abound for Dr. Rozenberg – and more than his criminal issues.



Business Records

JP Morgan Chase Bank v Shapiro, 2013 NY Slip Op 01357 (1st Dept. 2013)

“The underlying mortgage and note were originally held by Washington Mutual Bank, FA (WAMU). Plaintiff submitted the affidavit of an employee who identified herself as having personal knowledge of, inter alia, plaintiff’s status as successor-in-interest to WAMU and defendant Saadia Shapiro’s default. This was based upon her review of plaintiff’s books and records and its account records regarding Shapiro’s delinquent account (see CPLR 3212[b]).”

Note that affiant was related to successor entity and was not employed when record was generated.  This will cut both ways.

4518(a) deals with certification?

Hazzard v Burrowes, 2012 NY Slip Op 03409 (2d Dept. 2012)

“Moreover, the police accident report was inadmissible, as it was not certified as a business record (see CPLR 4518(a)), and the statements by both the appellant and Burrowes were self-serving, did not fall within any exception to the hearsay rule, and bore upon the ultimate issues of fact to be decided by the jury”

4518(a) v. 4518 (c) ?

Business record rule applies to hospitals also

Westchester Med. Ctr. v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 2012 NY Slip Op 50398(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2012)

“In the case at bar, plaintiff’s submission of a third-party affidavit failed to demonstrate that the NF-5 hospital facility form or the UB04, which was incorporated by reference into the NF-5 and which listed the services provided by the hospital, was plaintiff’s business record and therefore admissible as proof that, for example, those services had been rendered (see Matter of Carothers, 79 AD3d 864; New York Hosp. Med. Ctr. of Queens, 33 Misc 3d 130[A], 2011 NY Slip Op 51863[U]).”

What is amazing here is that a hospital that gets its case 325(d)’d from Supreme Court now has to make an additional threshold showing in order for its motion for summary judgment to be granted.

Business record challenge to police report

Hernandez v Tepan, 2012 NY Slip Op 01211 (2d Dept. 2012)

“As the defendant correctly contends, the police accident report submitted by the plaintiff in support of the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability constituted inadmissible hearsay, since the report was not certified as a business record (see CPLR 4518[a]; Johnson v Lutz, 253 NY 124, 128; Bailey v Reid, 82 AD3d 809, 810; see also Noakes v Rosa, 54 AD3d 317, 318), and there is no indication that some other hearsay exception applied to the statements contained in the report”

This case is a hard read.  It says an uncertified police report is hearsay, yet cites to 4518(a) and not 4518(c).  The cases that are cited deal with, in essence, Hochauser  issues.

Another really intelligent appeal

When will certain Plaintiffs and their law firms realize that it is okay to occasionally lose in Civil Court.  Look at the the mess that  Plaintiff has now created for itself.  By the way, look at the bolded section of this opinion.  Why did you do this to yourself Mr. Five Boro?

Five Boro Psychological Servs., P.C. v Progressive Northeastern Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 51528(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2011)

“Plaintiff argues on appeal that, because defendant failed to attach a copy of the bill at issue in this case to its motion papers, the Civil Court could not have been able to identify the bill at issue and, thus, defendant’s motion should have been denied. This contention is without merit. The complaint in this matter identified the sole bill at issue (see CPLR 3013), and defendant attached the complaint to its motion papers as required by CPLR 3212 (b). Accordingly, there could not have been any question as to the identity of the bill which is the subject of this action.”

“[d]efendant was not relying on [the denials] for th[e] [hearsay] purpose. It is plaintiff’s burden, not defendant’s, to prove the elements of plaintiff’s cause of action. Defendant submitted the denial of claim form to show that it was sent and that the claim was therefore denied (see Five Boro Psychological Servs., P.C. v Progressive Northeastern Ins. Co., 27 Misc 3d 141[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 50991[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2010]; Quality Health Prods., Inc. v NY Cent. Mut. Fire [*2]Ins. Co., 27 Misc 3d 141[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 50990[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2010]). Since defendant did not submit the denial of claim form for a hearsay purpose, defendant was not required to lay a CPLR 4518 foundation for its admissibility”