Frechette v. Welch
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
621 F.2d 11 (1980)
Roger Frechette and others (plaintiffs) filed a diversity tort suit against Joseph Welch (defendant) in a federal district court in New Hampshire for injuries received in an automobile accident. Welch denied responsibility, claiming that he lost control of his vehicle upon suffering an unforeseeable and sudden blackout. In support of his defense, Welch relied upon the testimony of three physicians: Turner, Zuckerman, and Blacklow. Turner, who was the earliest of the three to treat Welch after the accident, testified live at trial; Zuckerman and Blacklow did not. In lieu of in-person testimony, Welch offered the depositions of Zuckerman and Blacklow. Plaintiffs objected to the admission of the Zuckerman and Blacklow depositions at trial unless Welch demonstrated compliance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 32(a), particularly the criteria for establishing that a witness is unavailable. Despite Welch’s failure to meet the requirements of the rule, the trial court admitted the depositions. Under New Hampshire state law, depositions could be used in lieu of live testimony unless the objecting party was able to obtain the deponent’s attendance at trial. A jury decided in favor of Welch. Plaintiffs appealed, citing the admission of the Zuckerman and Blacklow depositions as bases for reversible error.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Campbell, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 170,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.