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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In December 2001, Daniel Adam Bell brought a tractor on a trailer to HeavyQuip, a business that repairs heavy equipment located in Houston. Bell left the tractor and trailer at HeavyQuip. The trailer that Bell left was “rusty red” in color, and described as “old” and “rusted out.” In January 2001, an employee of B&D Construction brought a piece of heavy equipment in need of repair to HeavyQuip on a trailer, and like Bell, left the equipment and trailer on HeavyQuip’s property. B&D’s trailer was comparable to Bell’s trailer in that it was a gooseneck trailer of about the same length, but unlike Bell’s trailer, B&D’s trailer was “brand-new.” Although HeavyQuip had not finished repairing Bell’s tractor, Bell arrived at HeavyQuip several days after B&D left its trailer to check on the status of the repair. Witnesses saw Bell’s truck leave HeavyQuip later that day, towing B&D’s trailer. B&D filed a claim on HeavyQuip’s liability insurance policy, underwritten by St. Paul Guardian Insurance Co. At trial, HeavyQuip’s records custodian, Ellen Neadom, testified that she communicated with St. Paul and received documents from it regarding B&D’s claim. Included among these documents is 1. a letter from St. Paul to HeavyQuip informing HeavyQuip that it had offered to settle B&D’s claim for $7,125 and 2. a letter from St. Paul to HeavyQuip reflecting that it had settled B&D’s claim for $7,864. The trial court admitted both documents as HeavyQuip’s business records, over Bell’s hearsay objection. HOLDING:Affirmed. A document prepared by a third party may be admissible under Texas Rule of Evidence 803(6) if: 1. it is incorporated and kept in the course of the testifying witnesses’ business; 2. that business typically relies upon the accuracy of the contents of the document; and 3. the circumstances otherwise indicate the trustworthiness of the document. Harris v. State, 846 S.W.2d 960 (Tex. App. � Houston [1st Dist.] 1993, pet. ref’d). The trial court heard evidence that HeavyQuip relied upon and incorporated the St. Paul letters into its business records. Neadom testified that she was the legal custodian of the business records for HeavyQuip and that her responsibilities included notifying HeavyQuip’s corporate office in the event that “something turns up missing,” so that the corporate office could notify St. Paul of a claim. She testified that the letters are records that HeavyQuip kept in the regular course of its business, and that the letters were created at or near the time of the disappearance of the missing trailer because a claim had been made on HeavyQuip’s insurance policy. St. Paul contacted HeavyQuip’s Houston office, and Neadom testified that she communicated with and received the letters from St. Paul in connection with those communications. Neadom explained that one letter notifies HeavyQuip that it had offered to settle B&D’s claim for $7,125. The other letter is a “closing report” from St. Paul informing HeavyQuip that it had resolved B&D’s claim for $7,864. HeavyQuip relied upon the letters in its business, as Neadom testified that HeavyQuip was liable to B&D for the value of the trailer. Thus, St. Paul’s payment resolved HeavyQuip’s liability for the stolen trailer and resolved HeavyQuip’s claim on its insurance policy. Moreover, the circumstances indicate the letters’ trustworthiness. They identify B&D as the claimant, HeavyQuip as the insured, and that the date of the occurrence giving rise to B&D’s claim was Jan. 15, 2002. St. Paul sent the letters to HeavyQuip in compliance with Texas Insurance Code Article 21.56, in order to notify HeavyQuip of the status of the claim made under HeavyQuip’s policy. St. Paul’s financial interest corresponds to Bell’s, as St. Paul was financially responsible for paying B&D’s claim, and thus would seek to resolve the claim within the lowest possible fair market evaluation of the trailer. Finally, HeavyQuip relied upon these letters to show resolution of B&D’s claim against it. The evidence thus provides support for the reliability of the letters. The court concludes that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting them under the Rule 8036. business records exception. OPINION:Bland, J.; Radack, C.J., Keyes and Bland, JJ.

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