Ed Guth Realty v. Gingold, 34 N.Y.2d 440, 358 N.Y.S.2d 367 (1974) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
The issue presented was what kind of proof can be used to determine the ratio of assessed value to fair market value of a parcel of land. In addition to various other methods, the petitioners claimed that the state equalization rate was a proper means of assessing that ratio. Petitioners introduced computer printouts showing the data collected, and how it bore on the selection of the equalization rate.
Trial Court Proceedings Edit
The trial court adopted the equalization rate for assessing the ratio because of its reliability as established by the computer data. The city argued that the computer data was not the best evidence, was hearsay and should not have been admitted.
Appellate Court Proceedings Edit
The court of appeals first determined that the computer information was prepared in the normal course of business, and therefore, was within a statutory exception to the hearsay rule. Second, the court held that the best evidence rule was not violated. It reasoned that summaries of voluminous materials are ]]competent evidence]] as long as the opposition is given access to the original data. Since the city was afforded such access, the trial judgment was affirmed.