Present sense impression

Matter of Matter of Allstate Ins. Co. v Stricklin, 2012 NY Slip Op 01812 (2nd Dept., 2012)

Contrary to the appellants' contention, the police accident report was not admissible under the present sense exception to the hearsay rule. To be admissible under this exception, a [*2]statement must be made "substantially contemporaneously" with the witness's observations, and the declarant's description of the relevant events must be "sufficiently corroborated by other evidence" (People v Brown, 80 NY2d 729, 734). As stated by this Court in the case of Matter of Phoenix Ins. Co. v Golanek (50 AD3d 1148, 1150):

"After [the eyewitness] wrote [the plate] number on a piece of paper, [he] was no longer relying upon a present sense of the number, but was relying entirely on the contents of [his] own writing [and thus] . . . the police accident report generated sometime later did not reflect a present sense impression rather than a recalled or recast description of events that were observed in the recent past' (People v Vasquez, 88 NY2d 561, 575 [1996])."

Morever, the evidence at the hearing did not establish how much time elapsed between the imparting of the license plate information to the officer and the preparation of the police accident report. In addition, it was not established that the officer who received the piece of paper at the accident scene was the same one who prepared the police report. Moreover, even assuming that the license plate information was "substantially contemporaneous" with the unidentified witness's observation, there was insufficient evidence of corroboration (cf. Matter of Irizarry v Motor Veh. Indem. Corp., 287 AD2d 716).

Accordingly, under all of the circumstances, it was error to admit the police report into evidence. Since there was no other evidence that the vehicle insured by Autoone was involved in the subject accident, Allstate's petition to stay arbitration of Stricklin's uninsured motorist claim should have been denied, and the proceeding dismissed.

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