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Gaylard v. Homemakers of Montgomery, Inc.

Alabama Supreme Court
675 So. 2d 363 (Ala. 1996)


Facts

Alice Gaylard (plaintiff) hired Homemakers of Montgomery, Inc. d/b/a Oxford Health Care (Oxford) (defendant) to provide in-home health services to its clients. Gaylard claims that she was injured when an Oxford employee named Dorothy Taylor gave her a bath on December 16, 1992. Gaylard asserted that the burns she sustained caused her injuries requiring hospitalization, as well as pain and emotional distress. Gaylard’s attorney, Richard C. Dean, Jr., contacted Taylor about the incident. Dean did not tell Taylor that he was recording the conversation. At first, Taylor declined to answer any questions and directed Dean to contact Oxford and speak to her supervisor, but Dean continued questioning until Taylor gave Dean a significant amount of information relating to the situation. Taylor did not indicate that she or Oxford were represented by an attorney in the matter. Gaylard then sued Oxford for negligence, wantonness, and breach of contract. At trial, Dean attempted to introduce the recording of his conversation with Taylor as evidence of a prior-inconsistent statement on cross-examination. The circuit court granted Oxford’s motion in limine and refused to admit the statement on the ground that Dean had obtained the recording in violation of Rule 4.2 of the Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct (ARPC). The jury returned a verdict in favor of Oxford, and Gaylard appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Almon, J.)

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Dissent (Hooper, C.J.)

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Dissent (Houston, J.)

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