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Beach v. Richtmyer

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division
90 N.Y.S.2d 332 (1949)


Facts

Beach (plaintiff) was injured in a two-car accident, and sued Richtmyer, Carpenter, and the estate of Harris (defendants). Harris, Carpenter's chauffeur, was killed in the accident. Carpenter herself was not in her car at the time. At trial, Carpenter testified that Harris drove the car without her permission, implying that Harris stole the car. Over Carpenter's objection, the judge allowed Harris's administrator to introduce evidence of Harris's good character. Carpenter's testimony was uncorroborated; ample contradictory evidence supported the legal presumption that Harris drove the car with Carpenter's permission. The jury found both Harris's estate and Carpenter liable for Beach's damages. Carpenter appealed to the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, arguing that it was prejudicial error to admit evidence of Harris's character.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Heffernan, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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