May 29, 2020
The Supreme Court has held that a witness’s description of a logo and company name he recalled seeing on an invoice was not hearsay because it was not offered to prove the truth of any statement contained in the invoice. Rather, the witness’s description of the invoice, which was unavailable at the time of trial, was circumstantial evidence of defendant’s identity as the source of asbestos-containing pipes at the plaintiff’s worksite. The Court concluded that because the evidence was admissible, it (along with other circumstantial evidence) supported the conclusion that defendant supplied the pipes that injured the plaintiff. The ruling has particular significance for asbestos litigation because such cases often involve long-ago events, causing plaintiffs to rely on circumstantial evidence and inferences in order to prove exposure to a defendant’s product.