Fed. R. Evid. 608(b) provides that specific instances of the conduct of a witness, for the purpose of attacking or supporting his credibility, other than conviction of crime as provided in Fed. R. Evid. 609, may not be proved by extrinsic evidence. They may, however, in the discretion of the court, if probative of truthfulness or untruthfulness, be inquired into on cross-examination of the witness concerning his character for truthfulness or untruthfulness.
Appellant employee brought an action pursuant to the Federal Employers' Liability Act, 45 U.S.C.S. § 51 et seq., and the Federal Safety Appliance Act, 45 U.S.C.S. § 1 et seq., alleging that he suffered a disabling injury during the course of his employment with the debtor in reorganization. Appellee trustees in reorganization sought to rebut appellant's allegations of a faulty brake with evidence that the brake functioned properly immediately prior to and after the accident. In support of their interpretation of the events, appellees offered into evidence a personal injury report and an inspection report.
Were the accident reports improperly admitted into evidence?
The court affirmed the judgment in favor of appellees, rejecting appellant's argument that the reports were improperly admitted into evidence. The court held that the reports were business records within the meaning of 28 U.S.C.S. § 1732. Further, the admissibility was not affected by the fact that the accident report was prepared by an employee who had neither firsthand knowledge of the accident not had inspected the purportedly defective car and brake. The court also rejected appellant's challenges to the district court's jury instructions.