Civil Procedure II, Pages 707–709

Harnden v. Jayco

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2007–07-31

Facts:

Plaintiff purchased an RV partially made by defendant. Plaintiff had various defects that he could not get repaired, and so sued the makers, although he dropped the claims against the other two defendants.

A report by defendant's employee concluding that only one minor common leak was in a part make by defendant and that this could be repaired for $250. Plaintiff did not rebut this, but objected to its admission as hearsay. Defendant's attorney offered to submit it in an admissible form, but the district court declined and considered it anyway.

Procedural History:

District court granted defendant summary judgment.

Issue:

Was defendant's employee's report's admission a "harmless error?"

Rule:

FRCP 61

[T]he court must disregard all errors and defects that do not affect any party's substantial rights.

Reasoning:

Reversing will just lead to the case being sent back, the affidavit being re-submitted properly, and the case being retried the same way. Plaintiff was aware of the report in advance regardless and was not prejudiced by this error.

Holding:

The error was harmless. Affirmed.

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