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Almeciga v. Center for Investigative Reporting, Inc.

2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60539, 17-54, 185 F. Supp.3d 401 (S.D.N.Y. 2016)

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Almeciga v. Center for Investigative Reporting, Inc.

United District Court, Southern District of New York

2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60539, 17-54, 185 F. Supp.3d 401 (S.D.N.Y. 2016)

Facts

Erica Almeciga (plaintiff) sued the Center for Investigative Reporting, Inc. (CIR) (defendant), for breaching a promise to protect her identity when it made a video about her drug-cartel boyfriend. CIR produced a release that she purportedly signed. Almeciga claimed her signature was forged and produced handwriting expert Wendy Carlson in support. Carlson compared the signature on the release to samples of a signature that Almeciga’s attorney gave her and concluded the signature was forged. However, Carlson admitted she had no knowledge whether the samples were actually Almeciga’s, so the court had Almeciga write her signature 10 times in open court, which she did very slowly. Carlson prepared a second report that opined that the release signature was forged based on comparison to the in-court signatures. CIR asked the court to exclude the report, arguing it did not satisfy the criteria for scientific evidence. The court conducted a hearing to determine whether handwriting analysis meets the Daubert criteria. Carlson testified that she used the “ACE-V” method to analyze the signatures, meaning “Analyze, Compare, Evaluate, and Verify.” She compared certain letters’ shape, slant, strokes, and angles, which she described as using experience knowing what to look for, rather than a science like chemistry or biology.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rakoff, J.)

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