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Endicott Johnson v. C.M. Golde

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Citation Edit

Endicott Johnson Corp. v. C.M. Golde, 190 N.W.2d 752 (N.D. 1971) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

The plaintiff sued Golde for non-payment for certain goods. At trial, plaintiff attempted to introduce three electronically prepared exhibits through the testimony of its North Dakota representative. When the trial judge refused to admit these exhibits, the plaintiff rested. The defendant then moved for dismissal, and the motion was granted.

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the three exhibits should have been admitted under the Business Records as Evidence Act.[1]The trial court's refusal was based on two grounds: (1) the company's representative was not the custodian of records, and (2) the original records would have been the best evidence.

On the first ground, the court noted that the statutory language allows for either a custodian or "other qualified witness" to testify. Further, the orders for the goods were prepared by the North Dakota representative, and he was generally familiar with the actual operation of the computer.

The court observed with reference to the second ground that the complexities of modern business do not easily permit the furnishing of original records. Therefore, "such statutes rely on the trustworthiness of records as routine reflections of the day to day operations of a business, it being the interest of the entrant to have his records truthful and accurate so that they may be relied on in the conduct of business."[2] The court, therefore, reversed the dismissal and a new trial was granted.

ReferencesEdit

  1. N.D. Cent. Code § 31-08-01 provides that a record of an act is admissible if:
    1. The custodian or other qualified witness testifies to its identity and the mode of its preparation;

    2. It was made in the regular course of business, at or near the time of the act, condition, or event; and 3. The sources of information and the method and time of preparation, in the opinion of the court, were such as to justify its admission.

  2. 190 N.W.2d at 757, 4 CLSR at 453.

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