Vinyard v. Vinyard Funeral Home, Inc.
435 S.W.2d 392 (1968)

  • Vinyard (the daughter-in-law of the president of Vinyard Funeral Home) fell in the Funeral Home’s parking lot.  She sued for damages.
    • The Funeral Home argued that they had no idea that the ramp was slippery and so couldn’t be held responsible.
  • At trial, the daughter-in-law introduced evidence that people complained to the Funeral Home’s employees that the parking lot was slippery when wet.
    • The Funeral Home argued that this testimony was hearsay and was inadmissible, but the judge allowed it.
  • The Trial Court found for the daughter-in-law and awarded $13k.  The Funeral Home appealed.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed.
    • The Appellate Court noted that the testimony would not be admissible if it was offered to establish that the parking lot actually was slippery.
      • That would be hearsay because you would be relying on the statements of someone who could not be cross-examined in order to prove a fact.
    • However, the Appellate Court noted that the testimony was admissible if offered only to prove that the employees had been told that the parking lot was slippery.
      • See FRE 105, which covers limited admissibility.