CPLR R. 4518 — Foundation (including “electronic records”)

CPLR R. 4518 Business records

People v Manges, 2009 NY Slip Op 08258 (App. Div., 4th, 2009)

Defendant appeals from a judgment convicting him, upon a jury verdict, of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree (Penal Law § 170.25) and attempted grand larceny in the third degree (§§ 110.00, 155.35). We agree with defendant that County Court erred in admitting in evidence a printout of electronic data that was displayed on a computer screen when 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 (see CPLR 4518 [a]), which applies here (see CPL 60.10). The People presented no evidence that the data displayed on the computer screen, resulting in the printout, was entered in the regular course of business at the time of the transaction (see CPLR 4518 [a]). Indeed, the bank teller who identified the computer screen printout testified that "anyone [at the bank] can sit down at a computer and enter information." Because the computer screen printout was the only evidence establishing the identity of the purported true account owner upon which the check was drawn, we conclude that the evidence is legally insufficient to support the conviction (see generally People v Bleakley, 69 NY2d 490, 495). In the absence of the printout, the People failed to establish an essential element of the crime of criminal possession of a forged instrument, i.e., defendant's knowledge that the check presented to the bank teller was forged (see People v Johnson, 65 NY2d 556, 560, rearg denied 66 NY2d 759; cf. People v Shabazz, 226 AD2d 290, lv denied 88 NY2d 994) and, thus, they also failed to establish an essential element of the remaining crime of attempted grand larceny in the third degree, i.e., that the property was stolen.

Palisades Collection, LLC v Kedik, 2009 NY Slip Op 08259 (App. Div., 4th, 2009)

To establish standing to sue, plaintiff was required to submit admissible evidence that Discover assigned its interest in defendant's debt to plaintiff (see generally Rockland Lease Funding Corp. v Waste Mgt. of N.Y., 245 AD2d 779). Here, plaintiff submitted an affidavit from its agent with exhibits, including a printed copy of several pages from an electronic spreadsheet listing defendant's Discover account as one of the accounts sold to plaintiff. Contrary to the contention of plaintiff, the court properly determined that it failed to establish a proper foundation for the admission of the spreadsheet under the business record exception to the hearsay rule (see generally Speirs v Not Fade Away Tie Dye Co., 236 AD2d 531).

A business record is admissible if "it was made in the regular course of any business and . . . it was the regular course of such business to make it, at the time of the act, transaction, occurrence or event, or within a reasonable time thereafter" (CPLR 4518 [a]; see generally People v Kennedy, 68 NY2d 569, 579-580). "A proper foundation for the admission of a [*2]business record must be provided by someone with personal knowledge of the maker's business practices and procedures" (West Val. Fire Dist. No. 1 v Village of Springville, 294 AD2d 949, 950). Although plaintiff's agent averred that the spreadsheet was kept in the regular course of business and that the entries therein were made in the regular course of business, the agent did not establish that he was familiar with plaintiff's business practices or procedures, and he further failed to establish when, how, or by whom the electronic spreadsheet submitted in paper form was made (see CPLR 4518 [a]; West Val. Fire Dist. No. 1, 294 AD2d at 950). Furthermore, although an electronic record "shall be admissible in a tangible exhibit that is a true and accurate representation of such electronic record" (id.), plaintiff's agent failed to establish that the printed electronic spreadsheet submitted to the court was a true and accurate representation of the electronic record kept by plaintiff.

Others have posted more thorougly on these cases, so I'll leave it at this.

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