The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment in this dog bite case should not have been granted. The plaintiffs relied on deposition testimony in which defendant acknowledged she had heard about a prior incident in which a boy was nipped by one of her dogs. Defendant’s statement was inadmissible hearsay:
Plaintiffs failed, however, to submit evidence in admissible form regarding the purported prior incident allegedly establishing the existence of the dogs’ vicious propensities. Instead, plaintiffs relied on defendant’s inadmissible hearsay testimony during her deposition about what she had heard from others regarding the purported prior incident, for which she was not present and about which she had no firsthand knowledge … . Such evidence is insufficient to meet plaintiffs’ burden on their motion for summary judgment … .
It is true that, “[i]f a party makes an admission, it is receivable even though knowledge of the fact was derived wholly from hearsay” … . If, however, the party merely admits that he or she heard that an event occurred in the manner stated, the party’s statement is “inadmissible as then it would only . . . amount[ ] to an admission that he [or she] had heard the statement which he [or she] repeated and not to an admission of the facts included in it”… . Here, defendant merely admitted that she had heard that the purported prior incident occurred in the manner stated by others, which is “in no sense an admission of any fact pertinent to the issue, but a mere admission of what [she] had heard without adoption or indorsement. Such evidence is clearly inadmissible” … . Christopher P. v Kathleen M.B., 2019 NY Slip Op 05894, Fourth Dept 7-31-19