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New York CPLR and Evidence Update

January 8, 2019 – Governor Cuomo has signed legislation allowing satellite-mapping services, such as Google Maps, MapQuest, Google Earth, etc., to be used as evidence at trial. The law will increase the court’s access to critical information/evidence and reduce costs of litigants at trial. The law will take effect immediately and will be slightly amended with technical changes after the presumed passage of a chapter amendment in the upcoming 2019 legislative session.

This law removes a litigant’s obligation to need testimony from an expert witness that confirms the validity of an Google Maps-generated image or calculation. Prior to passage of this law a litigant would need an expert witness to lay the foundation necessary to admit this evidence at trial. In Federal Court, judicial notice is taken of Google Maps as a source that “can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned” pursuant to Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. In short, the evidence is credible and its veracity is not in question while being readily available to the Court and litigants for inspection. This change to the CPLR 4511 will allow litigation to proceed in a faster and more cost-effective way and will help accelerate the resolution of litigation.

This is another example of the law catching up to technology and we expect to see more and more of this as technological gains are made and the desire to reduce costs of litigation remains strong. To see the full Bill please click here.