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Merrick v. United States Rubber Co., 7 Ariz. App. 443, 440 P.2d 314 (1968) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
United States Rubber furnished Merrick with goods, both on consignment and on open account. Merrick experienced financial problems and was unable to pay for the goods. United States Rubber sued, and attached to its complaint an itemized statement of the accounts due from Merrick. At trial, plaintiff introduced into evidence eight multi-page documents in support of the itemized statement of account. This evidence was computer-generated data.
The plaintiff also called as a witness an employee who was familiar with both Merrick's account and plaintiff’s general accounting procedures. While the employee was able to explain the content and meaning of the computer-generated material, he was not familiar with the actual physical operation of the computer equipment.
Appellate Court Proceedings Edit
The judgment was affirmed. The court of appeals held that electronically-produce evidence is admissible if the following criteria of the Arizona Business Records Rule are met:
|“||Any record of an act, condition or event, shall, insofar as relevant, be competent evidence if the custodian or other qualified witness testifies to its identity and the mode of its preparation, and if it was made in the regular course of business, at or near the time of the act, condition or event, and if, in the opinion of the court, the sources of information, method and time of preparation were such as to justify its admission.||”|
Since the witness was able to explain the preparation and meaning of the data, and since such documents were produced during the regular course of business, the court held that it was unimportant that the witness did not know the actual physical operation of the computer equipment.