FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), and FRE 803(8) Legislative History Page


Proposed Amendment To

FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), and FRE 803(8)

Legislative History Page


The FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), and FRE 803(8) Legislative History Page summarizes and provides information concerning the pending amendments.

FRE 803(6) and FRE 803(7) provide for the admission of business records. FRE 803(8) permits the introduction of public records. Each rule has a "trustworthiness requirement". The pending amendment would clarify who holds the burden of proof to show lack of trustworthiness: once the proponent of the business or public record satisfies the requirements for admission, the opposing party would hold the burden to establish a lack of trustworthiness.

In April 2012, the Evidence Rules Advisory Committee first considered amendments to FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), and FRE 803(8) under the Rules Enabling Act. After public comment and consideration by the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules and the Standing Committee, in September 2013 the U.S. Judicial Conference approved the proposed amendments, agreed to transmit them to the Supreme Court and recommended that the Supreme Court approve them and transmit them to Congress. Under the Rules Enabling Act, the Supreme Court must act on the proposed amendment by May 1, 2014. If approved by the Supreme Court, the amendment will become law if it is not amended by Congress and take effect on December 1, 2014. There are seven steps in the amendment process under the Rules Enabling Act.

- - - - - - - - - -

Under the proposed amendment approved by the U.S. Judicial Conference, each rule would be amended as follows:

______________________________



Proposed Amendment: Rule 803(6) (Records of a Regularly Conducted Activity)


strike out indicates deletion; underline indicates insertion

Rule 803. Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay — Regardless of Whether the Declarant Is Available as a Witness

The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness.

* * *

(6) Records of a Regularly Conducted Activity. A record of an act, event, condition, opinion, or diagnosis if:
(A) the record was made at or near the time by — or from information transmitted by — someone with knowledge;
(B) the record was kept in the course of a regularly conducted activity of a business, organization, occupation, or calling, whether or not for profit;
(C) making the record was a regular practice of that activity;
(D) all these conditions are shown by the testimony of the custodian or another qualified witness, or by a certification that complies with Rule 902(11) or (12) or with a statute permitting certification; and
(E) neither the opponent does not show that the source of information nor or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate a lack of trustworthiness.

* * *


Draft Committee Note

The Rule has been amended to clarify that if the proponent has established the stated requirements of the exception — regular business with regularly kept record, source with personal knowledge, record made timely, and foundation testimony or certification — then the burden is on the opponent to show a lack of trustworthiness. While most courts have imposed that burden on the opponent, some have not. It is appropriate to impose the burden of proving untrustworthiness on the opponent, as the basic admissibility requirements are sufficient to establish a presumption that the record is reliable.

The opponent, in meeting its burden, is not necessarily required to introduce affirmative evidence of untrustworthiness. For example, the opponent might argue that a record was prepared in anticipation of litigation and is favorable to the preparing party without needing to introduce evidence on the point. A determination of untrustworthiness necessarily depends on the circumstances.

______________________________



Proposed Amendment: Rule 803(7) (Absence of a Record of a Regularly Conducted Activity)


strike out indicates deletion; underline indicates insertion

Rule 803. Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay — Regardless of Whether the Declarant Is Available as a Witness

The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness.

* * *

(7) Absence of a Record of a Regularly Conducted Activity. Evidence that a matter is not included in a record described in paragraph (6) if:
(A) the evidence is admitted to prove that the matter did not occur or exist;
(B) a record was regularly kept for a matter of that kind; and
(C) neither the opponent does not show that the possible source of information nor or other indicate a lack of trustworthiness.

* * *


Draft Committee Note

The Rule has been amended to clarify that if the proponent has established the stated requirements of the exception — set forth in Rule 803(6) — then the burden is on the opponent to show a lack of trustworthiness. The amendment maintains consistency with the proposed amendment to the trustworthiness clause of Rule 803(6).

______________________________



Proposed Amendment: Rule 803(8) (Public Records)


strike out indicates deletion; underline indicates insertion

Rule 803. Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay — Regardless of Whether the Declarant Is Available as a Witness

The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness.

* * *

(8) Public Records. A record or statement of a public office if:
(A) it sets out:
(i) the office’s activities;
(ii) a matter observed while under a legal duty to report, but not including, in a criminal case, a matter observed by law-enforcement personnel; or
(iii) in a civil case or against the government in a criminal case, factual findings from a legally authorized investigation; and

(B) neither the opponent does not show that the source of information nor or other circumstances indicate a lack of trustworthiness.

* * * * *


Draft Committee Note

The Rule has been amended to clarify that if the proponent has established that the record meets the stated requirements of the exception — prepared by a public office and setting out information as specified in the Rule — then the burden is on the opponent to show a lack of trustworthiness. While most courts have imposed that burden on the opponent, some have not. Public records have justifiably carried a presumption of reliability, and it should be up to the opponent to “demonstrate why a time-tested and carefully considered presumption is not appropriate.” Ellis v. International Playtex, Inc., 745 F.2d 292, 301 (4th Cir. 1984). The amendment maintains consistency with the proposed amendment to the trustworthiness clause of Rule 803(6).

The opponent, in meeting its burden, is not necessarily required to introduce affirmative evidence of untrustworthiness. For example, the opponent might argue that a record was prepared in anticipation of litigation and is favorable to the preparing party without needing to introduce evidence on the point. A determination of untrustworthiness necessarily depends on the circumstances.

Below is a chronology of the development and consideration of the amendments to FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), and FRE 803(8) to date:

Date Action
December 1, 2014 Under the Rules Enabling Act, after the Supreme Court transmits the amendments to Congress, they will become effective December 1, 2014 in the absence of any congressional action.
April 25, 2014 The Supreme Court adopted the amendments and transmitted the amendment to Congress under the Rules Enabling Act.

September 15, 2013 Judicial Conference approved the amendments and recommended that the Supreme Court approve the proposed amendments and transmit it to Congress

June 3-4, 2013 Judicial Conference’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (known as the “Standing Committee”)

  • Standing Committee reviews amendment and recommends its consideration by the Judicial Conference of the United States
  • See Standing Committee Minutes, at 16 (Sept. 12, 2013) (discussing proposal for the Judicial Conference) (published with the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules Meeting Materials, at 82 (Nov. 7-8, 2013)).
  • Under the recommendation, "The proposed amendments clarify that the opponent has the burden of showing that the proffered record is untrustworthy. The reasons espoused by the advisory committee for the amendments are: first, to resolve a conflict in the case law by providing uniform rules; second, to clarify a possible ambiguity in the rules as originally adopted and as restyled; and third, to provide a result that makes the most sense, as imposing a burden of proving trustworthiness on the proponent is unjustified given that the proponent must establish that all the other admissibility requirements of these rules are met – requirements that tend to guarantee trustworthiness in the first place." Minutes, at 16 (Sept. 12, 2013) (published with the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules Meeting Materials, at 82 (Nov. 7-8, 2013)).
  • Blog Post: Standing Committee Approves Amendments To FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), And FRE 803(8) (Part V)
  • Blog Post: Judicial Standing Committee Considers Proposed Amendment To FRE 803(6), (7), (8) (Business and Public Records) (Part IV)

May 3, 2013 Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules considered the public comments

  • Noting: “The proposed amendment to Rules 803(6), (7), and (8) were released for public comment.
    At the meeting, the Committee will determine whether to recommend to the Standing Committee
    that the amendments be referred to the Judicial Conference.”
  • Report of the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules (May 7, 2013) (“There were only two public comments on the proposed amendments. Both approved of the text, but one comment suggested that the committee notes use language that fails to track the text of the Rules. Slight changes have been made to each of the three committee notes to address this concern.”).

February 15, 2013 Public Comments Received

June 11, 2012 Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure

  • Committee approval of the draft amendment for publication and public comment. The public comment period begins August 15, 2012, and will end by February 15, 2013. See Preliminary Draft Of Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, and Criminal Procedure, and the Federal Rules of Evidence (August 2012)
  • See also Minutes of the Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules (October 5, 2012) (“The reasons for the amendment are: 1) to resolve a conflict in the case law by providing a uniform rule; 2) to clarify a possible ambiguity in the rule as it was originally adopted and as restyled; and 3) to provide a result that makes the most sense, as imposing a burden of proving trustworthiness on the proponent is unjustified given that the proponent must establish that all the other admissibility requirements of these rules are met — requirements that tend to guarantee trustworthiness in the first place.”).
  • Blog Post: Public Comment Sought On Trustworthiness Requirement For FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), and FRE 803(8) (Part II)

May 3, 2012 Report of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure

  • Reporting that the "three proposals” to “amend Rules 803(6)-(8)—the hearsay exceptions for business records, absence of business records, and public records—to eliminate an ambiguity uncovered during the restyling project and clarify that the opponent has the burden of showing that the proffered record is untrustworthy. "

April 3, 2012 Minutes of the Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules, at 1

Return to Top

Blog Posts On The 2014 Amendment to FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), and FRE 803(8)

Blog posts from the Federal Evidence Blog discussing the 2014 amendments to FRE 803(6), FRE 803(7), and FRE 803(8).

Return to Top

______________________________

Subscribe Now To The Federal Evidence Review

** Less Than $25 Per Month ** Limited Time Offer **

subscribe today button

Federal Rules of Evidence
PDF