EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Other Blue Book, Take 2: AZ Court Finds Trial Court Erred In Deeming Blue Book Evidence Inadmissible

Like its federal counterpart, Arizona Rule of Evidence 803(17) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for 

Market quotations, tabulations, lists, directories, or other published compilations, generally used and relied upon by the public or by persons in particular occupations.

So, are portions of the Kelley Blue Book admissible under Rule 803(17)? According to the recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of Arizona,Division 1, Department A, in Colvin v. Ameri-National Corp., 2011 WL 4575607 (Ariz.App. Div. 1 2011), the answer is "yes."

In Colvin, Gary Colvin appealed the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of Ameri–National Corporation d/b/a Heritage Bank, N.A. on his claims that the Bank caused him damage by failing to immediately provide him cash in exchange for a validly presented cashier's check. According to Colvin, the Bank's failure to provide him with cash precluded him from being able to purchase a Honda at a terrific price.

The trial court precluded Colvin from presenting evidence from the Kelley Blue Book to prove his damages: the difference between the purchase price for the Honda ($13,500) and its Kelley Blue Book value ($24,000). After the trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the bank, Colvin appealed, claiming that the evidence from the Kelley Blue Book was admissible under Arizona Rule of Evidence 803(17).

The Court of Appeals of Arizona,Division 1, Department A, agreed with Colvin, concluding that

Although Arizona courts have not addressed the question, cases from other jurisdictions establish that the Kelley Blue Book falls within this exception. See State v. Dallas, 695 S.E.2d 474, 477 (N.C.Ct.App.2010); State v. Shaw, 86 P.3d 823, 824 (Wash.Ct.App.2004); Neloms v. Empire Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 859 So.2d 225, 232–33 (La.Ct.App.2003); State v. Erickstad, 620 N.W .2d 136, 145, ¶ 32 (N.D.2000) (citing additional cases from other jurisdictions); see also Michael A. Rosenhouse, Annotation, Construction and Application of Uniform Rule of Evidence 803(17), Providing Hearsay Exception for Market Reports, and Commercial Publications, 54 A.L.R.6th 593, § 12 (2010). The Bank has provided no authority to the contrary. Accordingly, discerning no reason to depart from the majority view, we decide the court erred by excluding evidence of the Kelley Blue Book.

Indeed, I previously posted an entry about a court in Maine reaching the same conclusion.

(That said, the court still found that the trial court correctly entered summary judgment in favor of the Bank).



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