Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Garrity

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 4, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DIANE M. GARRITY, PAUL G. GARRITY, JR., and PAUL M. STERCZALA, as fiduciaries of the Estate of Paul G. Garrity, Sr., Defendants. Ruling Defendants’ Proposed Exhibits Exhibit Number Ruling

          RULING ON OBJECTIONS TO PROPOSED TRIAL EXHIBITS

          Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.

         Following the pretrial conference, the parties submitted revised lists of proposed exhibits and objections. (See ECF Nos. 155 and 156.) I have set forth rulings on these objections below, beginning with a general discussion followed by rulings as to each proposed exhibit.

         I. General Principles and Observations About the Parties’ Objections to Exhibits

         A. Defendants’ Objections to Plaintiffs’ Proposed Exhibits

         The Defendants object to virtually all of Plaintiff’s proposed exhibits on four grounds: authenticity, hearsay, that they are “selective and not complete,” and relevance.

         1. Authenticity

         “To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is.” Fed. R. Evid. 901(a). “Rule 901 does not erect a particularly high hurdle, and that hurdle may be cleared by circumstantial evidence.” United States v. Tin Yat Chin, 371 F.3d 31, 37 (2d Cir. 2004) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Rule 901’s requirements are “satisfied if sufficient proof has been introduced so that a reasonable juror could find in favor of authenticity or identification.” Crawford v. Tribeca Lending Corp., 815 F.3d 121, 126 (2d Cir. 2016) (internal quotations and citation omitted). “Once Rule 901’s requirements are satisfied, the evidence’s persuasive force is left to the jury.” Tin Yat Chin, 371 F.3d at 38. (internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, once the threshold for authenticity is met, “the other party . . . remains free to challenge the reliability of the evidence to minimize its importance, or to argue alternative interpretations of its meaning, but these and similar other challenges go to the weight of the evidence-not to its admissibility.” Id. (citation omitted) (emphasis in original).

         Rule 901 provides a non-exhaustive list of ways to authenticate evidence. For example, a party may use a “comparison with an authenticated specimen by . . . the trier of fact” to establish authenticity. Fed. R. Evid. 901(b)(3). Under this provision, fact-finders may compare signatures among documents to determine authenticity. See, e.g., Stiles Mach., Inc. v. Lestorti, No. 3:05 CV 397 (JGM), 2007 WL 2099218, at *7 (D. Conn. July 17, 2007) (noting that the “persuasive force of the signature above [defendant]’s name is a decision that lies with the trier of fact” but that “the trier of fact may authenticate the handwriting by comparing the specimens of his writing which have been authenticated”).

         “The appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics of the item, taken together with all the circumstances,” may also satisfy the authentication requirement. Fed. R. Evid. 901(b)(4). Under this provision, courts have made preliminary determinations of authenticity based on the appearance of records, including foreign records. See, e.g., McQueeney v. Wilmington Tr. Co., 779 F.2d 916, 928-29 (3d Cir. 1985) (holding that the “contents of the documents tend[ed] to support their claim to authenticity” as plaintiff’s “Sea Service Records,” as they “appear[ed] to be copies of standard official forms,” “each [was] signed and dated by the plaintiff,” and each included the plaintiff’s personal official identification number); United States v. Prevezon Holdings, Ltd., 319 F.R.D. 459, 463 (S.D.N.Y. 2017) (holding that arbitration files obtained from unavailable Russian lawyers could be authenticated because they had distinctive characteristics similar to other records that could be authenticated, such as pages of nonpublic information regarding contracts and bank account numbers). “The specificity, regularity, and official appearance of . . . documents increase the likelihood of their being authentic.” McQueeney, 779 F.2d at 929.

         Finally, courts have held that the fact that the records were produced by a party in response to a discovery request, “while not dispositive of the issue of authentication, is surely probative.” McQueeney, 779 F.2d at 929. See also Burgess v. Premier Corp., 727 F.2d 826, 835-36 (9th Cir. 1984) (holding that “the district court could properly have found that all of the exhibits were adequately authenticated by the fact of being found in [defendant’s] warehouse”).

         In this case, as noted below in the specific rulings, the documents whose authenticity defendants challenge include records bearing the signature and/or initials of Mr. Garrity, Sr., and/or his sons-and those signatures, which appear to be by the same person(s), are also contained in other records to which Defendants do not object. See, e.g., Exs. 25 (signed by Kevin Garrity, and to which Defendants do not object), 61 (will signed by Mr. Garrity and submitted to the Court at ECF No. 115-13), and 99 (promissory notes signed by Mr. Garrity and submitted to the Court at ECF No. 115-11). Other documents include the same bank account No. and appear to be records of the same bank as to which Defendants have made judicial admissions in their answer; appear to be records of the same foundation, and bear the same dates, about which Defendants have made judicial admissions in their answer; and provide evidence of the same “shared signature authority” about which defendants have made judicial admissions in their answer. See ECF No. 9 ¶¶ 7, 8, and 21. Further, Plaintiff has represented that all of these documents were produced by Defendants after the documents were obtained from the foundation or “after Defendants’ counsel travelled to Liechtenstein and obtained it directly from” the bank that served as the foundation’s agent. See ECF No. 155 at 1-2. Defendants have not contested this representation.

         2. Hearsay

         Defendants have also made hearsay objections to several of the exhibits. The following general principles inform the Court’s specific ruling on each of the hearsay objections. Hearsay is defined as an out-of-court statement that “a party offers in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.” Fed. R. Evid. 801(c). Many of the documents to which Defendants have lodged hearsay objections consist of statements that are offered not to prove their truth but to prove other things, such as whether Paul Garrity, Sr. had an interest in or authority over a foreign financial account or whether he acted willfully in failing to report that account. (Should either party request in writing a limiting instruction as to any such documents indicating that the jury may not consider the statements within the document for their truth but only for some other limited purpose, the Court will give such an instruction.) Further, other documents consist of statements that are directions ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.