Legal Memorandum: Admissibility of Medical Records in NY

Issue: Under the laws of New York, when will a motion to admit a plaintiff’s medical records under N.Y. C.P.L.R. 4518 be granted in order to establish that a plaintiff was intoxicated?

Area of Law: Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Law Compliance, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Medical records admissible; Properly certified hospital records; Plaintiff's intoxication
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 584 N.Y.S.2d 828; 627 N.Y.S.2d 364; 543 N.Y.S.2d 480; 576 N.Y.S.2d 959; 438 N.Y.S.2d 87; 184 A.D.2d 331; 235 A.D.2d 275; 527 N.Y.S.2d 867; 178 A.D.2d 729; 81 A.D.2d 529; 158 A.D.2d 137; 557 N.Y.S.2d 221
Cited Statutes: N.Y. C.P.L.R. 4518 and 2306; C.P.L.R. 4518(c) cmt. C4518:10
Date: 02/01/2001

A plaintiff’s medical records for medical treatment on the date of an alleged accident and injury that is the subject of a legal action should be admitted in their entirety pursuant to N.Y. C.P.L.R. 4518 and 2306.  Information contained therein, including references to plaintiff’s intoxicated state, was recorded for purposes of diagnosis and treatment.  The certified and authenticated medical records are admissible as business records under the rules and do not require testimonial foundation.  C.P.L.R. 4518(c) cmt. C4518:10.  Information about a plaintiff’s condition at the time of the alleged accident may be critical to a determination of liability.

New York law is clear that "[h]ospital records are admissible as business records to the extent that entries therein are germane to the diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s ailments."  Moran v. Demarinis, 152 A.D.2d 546, 543 N.Y.S.2d 480, 482 (2d Dep’t 1989).  Pursuant to N.Y. C.P.L.R. 4518 and 2306,*FN1 "properly certified hospital records relating to the condition or treatment of a patient" not only are admissible—they "constitute prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein."  LaDuke v. State Farm Ins. Co., 158 A.D.2d 137, 557 N.Y.S.2d 221, 222 (4th Dep’t 1990).  See also Tirado v. 2188 Realty Ltd., 216 A.D.2d 14, 627 N.Y.S.2d 364, 365 (1st Dep’t 1995) (references in hospital records to the plaintiff’s drug and alcohol use were admissible because they were made necessarily as part of the plaintiff’s treatment); Freeman […]

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