During trial, lawyers make many strategic decisions to try to appeal to a jury. For example, they consider not only the substance of the evidence they present, but also the emotional impact of that evidence. But the impact of a witness’ testimony can be blunted if your jury is not following the testimony, so the use of demonstrative exhibits can be a useful tool to ensure the jury remains focused on the testimony.
In a seismic change to its evidentiary jurisprudence, New York recently enacted legislation that significantly broadens the admissibility of statements made by a party’s agent or employee.
Until now, New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”) had an oft-maligned (or, perhaps sometimes celebrated) quirk—statements of a party’s agent or employee were inadmissible as hearsay unless made by someone with actual authority to speak on behalf of the party. This was in stark contrast to the Federal Rules of Evidence, which require only that the employee or agent be speaking “on a matter within the scope of that relationship and while it existed.”