When dealing with a large amount of documents during litigation parties often will want to summarize the contents.  This could happen in the context of bank statements, payroll information, invoices or just about anything else you might think of.  The rules of evidence allow for an alternative to dumping a pile of paper on the Court or a Jury during trial.  Specifically, under Rule 1006 (27-1006 in Nebraska) lawyers can, subject to the Court’s discretion and other rules of evidence, provide a summary of the information.  There are some conditions which, if met, can help the court to exercise its discretion to allow the summary.

The party seeking admissibility of a written summary must do five things to meet the requirements under the rule:

1. Reasonably identify the existing and underlying documents summarized, including identification of ultimate source of documentary information.

2. Show that the original documents or duplicates underlying the proposed summary and data are otherwise admissible.

3. Serve a copy of the proposed summary on the opposing party, sufficiently in advance of trial,

4. Provide the opposing party with a reasonable time and place for examination of the available underlying documents.

5. Establish that documents underlying the summary are voluminous.

See Nebr.Rev.Stat. §§ 27-104(1), 27-803(22), 27-1006; Crowder v. Aurora Co-op. Elevator Co., 223 Neb. 704, 393 N.W.2d 250 (1986); 59 A.L.R. 4th 949.

Once these elements are met the Court should, in the normal course, allow a summary.  Obviously, this is preferable to asking the Court or Jury to sift through page after page of information to glean the bottom line.