Law School Case Brief
Reed v. McCord - 160 N.Y. 330, 54 N.E. 737 (1899)
In a civil action the admissions by a party of any fact material to the issue are always competent evidence against him, wherever, whenever or to whomsoever made.
Administratrix Mary Reed filed an action to recover damages for personal injuries to the decedent that caused his death and was based upon the alleged negligence of the defendant, William McCord. The court found in favor of the administratrix. Defendant appealed, presenting only two questions on appeal relating to the merits of the controversy. The first was whether the evidence was sufficient to justify the submission to the jury of the question of the individual's contributory negligence. The second arose upon an exception to the admission in evidence of a statement made by the defendant at a coroner's inquest as to the cause of the accident that was the basis of the administratrix's action.
Is there sufficient evidence to establish the liability of defendant individual for personal injuries that occasioned the death of the decedent?
The court affirmed, holding that the New York constitution prohibited the court of appeals from reviewing the question whether there was any, or sufficient, evidence to sustain a decision or undirected verdict where there was a unanimous affirmance by the appellate division. The court opined that it had no authority to examine the first question presented and that the unanimous decision of the court below must be treated as final. The court articulated that the statements of the individual of the circumstances and cause of the accident to the decedent made while he was a witness before the coroner were competent and properly received in the present action.
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