Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Statement of Fact Made During Settlement Discussions via Email Admissible as Admission of Party Opponent and Not Precluded by Settlement-Negotiating Context

Ride, Inc. v. APS Tech., Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44484 (D. Conn. Mar. 31, 2014):

11   Plaintiffs assert that defendants' Ex. J is inadmissible evidence because it is a "statement[ ] made during compromise negotiations about the claim." Pls.' L.R. 56(a)2 Stmt. at § I, ¶ 14. While "[t]he general rule that evidence of settlement negotiations is not admissible at trial is based upon the public policy of promoting the settlement of disputes," Jutkowitz v. Department of Health Services, 220 Conn. 86, 97 (1991),  [*26] "[a]n offsetting principle holds that an admission of fact is competent evidence, even though the admission was made in settlement negotiations, 'where the statement was intended to state a fact.. . . .'" Tomasso Bros., Inc. v. October Twenty-Four, Inc., 221 Conn. 194, 198 (1992) (citation omitted). "The test is whether the party making the admission intended to concede a fact hypothetically for the purpose of effecting a compromise, or to declare a fact really to exist." Evans Products Co. v. Clinton Building Supply, Inc., 174 Conn. 512, 517 (1978).

In this email exchange, Ide does ask Turner to "[p]lease advise [him] as soon as possible of [Turner's] comments and/or how we can resolve these issues." Defs.' Ex. J. However, given that the court finds that the email was written on May 9, 2011, more than five months prior to the filing of the plaintiffs' Complaint on November 7, 2011, and that the language of the email is written in a way that declares facts, rather than hypothetically ponders them in an effort to negotiate a settlement, the court concludes that this email is admissible as a statement of a party opponent, and thus is not hearsay per Federal Rules of Evidence 801(d)(2).

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