United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J. PAPPERT, J.
NOW, this 26th day of July, 2019, upon consideration
of the Defendant's Motion in Limine, (ECF No.
62), the Government's Response, (ECF No. 64), and after
hearing oral argument, it is hereby ORDERED
that the Motion is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part. Gordon seeks to introduce
testimony from Dr. Megan Crossman, the emergency room doctor
who treated Gordon on June 26, 2018, regarding statements
that police made to her about Gordon's conduct that day.
Gordon also seeks to admit into evidence medical records
which contain Dr. Crossman's notes about the police's
statements. Dr. Crossman's testimony and the supporting
medical records will be allowed into evidence for the
specific purposes explained below, with the appropriate
proffers that Dr. Crossman will testify that police told her
that (1) Gordon ran across Interstate 95 and (2) Gordon's
family members told police that Gordon jumped out of a
second-story window earlier that day. Gordon contends that
both statements are admissible because they fall under the
exception to hearsay in Federal Rule of Evidence 803(4),
statements made for and reasonably pertinent to medical
diagnosis and treatment. The government does not object to
the admission of testimony that Gordon ran across I-95 under
Rule 803(4), agreeing that it falls within the exception to
hearsay because it was given for the purposes of medical
diagnosis or treatment.
the Government argues correctly that the statement from
police to Dr. Crossman that Gordon's family members told
police that Gordon jumped out of a second-story window is not
admissible under Rule 803(4) because it contains
“hearsay within hearsay.” Gordon must therefore
demonstrate that all layers of hearsay are admissible.
See Fed. R. Ev. 805 (“Hearsay included within
hearsay is not excluded under the hearsay rule if each part
of the combined statements conforms with an exception to the
hearsay rule[.]”). The statement contains two layers of
hearsay: first, the statements from Gordon's family
members to police and second, the statements from police to
Dr. Crossman. While the latter would be admissible as
information communicated for the purposes of medical
diagnosis or treatment under exception 803(4), 803(4) does
not apply to the statements made by Gordon's family
members to police because Gordon does not argue that the
family made the statement to police for the purposes of
Gordon's diagnosis or treatment.
argues in the alternative that the statement about jumping
out of the second story window should be admitted as
non-hearsay under Rule 801(c). Where a statement is offered
not to prove the truth of the matter asserted but for another
purpose, the statement does not meet the definition of
hearsay and is exempt from the hearsay rule. Gordon
represents that he does not seek to introduce Dr.
Crossman's testimony to prove the truth of the matter
asserted, i.e., that Gordon actually jumped out of
the window, but rather to “provide context for Mr.
Gordon's commitment, ” “as [the statements]
explain what caused Dr. Crossman to believe Mr. Gordon
required immediate mental health treatment.” (Mot. at
3, 5.) Gordon contends that these issues are relevant to
Gordon's defense that he was voluntarily intoxicated at
the time of the alleged carjacking.
Government does not object to admission of this testimony for
the limited purpose of explaining why Dr. Crossman decided to
commit the defendant for mental health treatment, so long as
it is not offered for the truth of the matter asserted.
See (Resp. Opp'n at 3). Accordingly, Gordon may
use the statement for that limited purpose, consistent with
an appropriate limiting instruction. See Fed. R.
Evid. 105 (“If the court admits evidence that is
admissible against a party or for a purpose-but not against
another party or for another purpose-the court, on timely
request, must restrict the evidence to its proper scope and
instruct the jury accordingly.”)
also seeks to introduce into evidence the June 26 Crozer
Chester Medical Center Emergency Department Records. Those
records contain both statements which are the subject of Dr.
Crossman's testimony. See (Mot. Ex. A). The
Government does not dispute the authenticity of the medical
records or their general admissibility under Federal Rule of
Evidence 803(6). See (Resp. Opp'n at 3). The
Government asks the Court to redact the portion of the notes
which it claims contains hearsay within hearsay, specifically
the statement that “[police] were also able to contact
patient's family who told police that patient jumped out
of his second story window today because he thought someone
was chasing him trying to kill him. Family states that there
was no one in the house trying to chase patient.” (Mot.
Ex. A at 2.) The Government argues that “[u]nlike
introducing this evidence through Dr. Crossman's
testimony, there is no backdoor for admission of this
information in the medical records.” (Id.)
the statement in question would be inadmissible if offered
for the truth of the matter asserted for the reasons already
stated, it is admissible for the limited purpose of showing
why Dr. Crossman decided to commit Gordon for mental health
treatment. Assuming a proper foundation is laid to admit the
medical records into evidence under Rule 803(6), the
statement need not be redacted so long as it is being used
for its limited purpose and not to prove the truth of the
matter asserted. The Court will again provide an appropriate