Another loss at trial for JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA in Kings Civil. Suing for the deficiency after a repossession allegedly connected to an auto loan, counsel for plaintiff, Cohen & Slamowitz, failed to establish that an affidavit from a "relationship manager" constituted a business record. The court, therefore, deemed it inadmissible hearsay and excluded it from evidence.
Not surprisingly, Chase Bank did not produce a contract. Although the defendant admitted to entering into one, its terms were never established in admissible form. Turning to plaintiff's cause of action for account stated, it failed to establish it by a preponderance of the credible evidence. "An account stated is an agreement, independent of the underlying agreement, regarding the amount due on past transactions." The plaintiff must establish the existence of some indebtedness between the parties, or an express agreement to treat the statement in question as an account stated. It becomes "stated" only when the debtor expressly admits it to be correct; or 2) when the debtor receives it but makes no objection within a reasonable time.
The plaintiff's case here failed because the "relationship manager" lacked personal knowledge as to whether the original creditor mailed the statement. He was also found to lack a familiarity with the original creditor's record-keeping practices. Therefore, the condition of the document's relevance, i.e. that it was mailed or otherwise delivered to the defendant, was never established and it was excluded.
(JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA v. Rabel, NYLJ, February 23, 2010, at 27, col 3)