Legal Memorandum: Evidence in an ADA Action

Issue: In what manner can arbitration proceedings and findings be used as evidence in an ADA action?

Area of Law: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Evidence; ADA action; Arbitration proceedings and findings
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 425 U.S. 840
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Evid. 803(8)
Date: 04/01/2001

Although the administrative decision may be viewed as hearsay, Fed. R. Evid. 803(8), it is probably admissible.  In Chandler v. Roudebush, 425 U.S. 840 (1976), the Supreme Court held that administrative findings made in connection with a claim of discrimination in public employment were admissible.  For example, in Henry v. Daytop Village, 42 F.3d 89 (2d Cir. 1994), the court admitted findings of a state labor department administrative judge, including a finding that the plaintiff had not misrepresented her husband’s insurance coverage to her employer.  The court reasoned that the factual findings resulted from an investigation made pursuant to law, and would be excluded only if the sources of information upon which the ALJ to reach the findings indicated a lack of trustworthiness.

Thus, under normal rules of evidence, the administrative findings may be used as proof if they are factually relevant–i.e., tending to make an evidentiary proposition more or less likely than it would be without the proffered evidence–and not prejudicial under Fed. R. Evid. 403. 


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