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Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Hill
July 21, 1992
Unpublished Opinion

Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Hill

Court of Appeals of Texas, Dallas.



Connie A. Brooks HILL, Appellee.

No. 05-91-01290-CV.


July 21, 1992.

On Appeal from the 116th Judicial District Court Dallas County, Trial Court Cause No. 89-5878-F.



LAGARDE, Justice.

*1 This is an appeal of a jury’s verdict in a workers’ compensation case brought by Connie Hill against Aetna Casualty and Surety Company. Hill alleged that her on-the-job injury was a producing cause of total and permanent loss of use of both hands at or above the wrists. The jury found that Hill’s injury was a producing cause of total and permanent loss of use. The trial court entered judgment awarding Hill a lump sum payment which represented future weekly compensation. Aetna appeals, contending that the trial court erred (1) by refusing to allow Aetna to introduce evidence of Hill’s pleadings in another case and (2) in taking judicial notice of a life table. We affirm.

Pleadings from Car Accident Case

Hill’s on-the-job injury occurred on February 9, 1987. In March 1989, Hill was involved in a car accident. In December 1989, Hill filed a lawsuit seeking recovery for personal injuries from the car accident. In its first point, Aetna argues that the trial court erred in excluding Hill’s pleadings from that law suit. Aetna complains that those pleadings were admissible as proof that Hill was capable of securing and keeping employment following her on-the-job injury.1 In order to preserve error regarding the exclusion of evidence, the complaining party must satisfy the following prerequisites: (1) the exhibit must be offered into evidence at trial; (2) the trial court must make a ruling excluding the evidence; and (3) the excluded evidence must be properly reflected in the record by bill of exception or offer of proof. TEX. R. APP. P. 52(a), (b).

Here, outside the presence of the jury, counsel for both sides discussed the admissibility of Hill’s pleadings. After Aetna argued that the pleadings were admissible as a judicial admission for impeachment purposes, the trial court asked:

THE COURT: What is the particular motion or objection before the court?

[AETNA]: Well, it’s my understanding-

THE COURT: That you all want to go on a cross-examination and impeach her with-

[AETNA]: With this document.

THE COURT: To which they object. The court sustains and instructs you not to go into it.

The record reflects that Aetna never offered Hill’s pleadings from the car accident case into evidence at trial. The “document” referred to was never marked, identified or offered into evidence. Moreover, the trial court did not make a ruling excluding the pleadings. Our reading of the excerpt above is that the trial court sustained an objection to testimony, not to a document offered into evidence. Consequently, Aetna has not preserved error regarding the exclusion of those pleadings.

*2 Assuming, arguendo, that Aetna offered Hill’s pleadings and the trial court ruled to exclude them, Aetna has waived its claim that the pleadings were admissible for impeachment or another limited purpose. At the conclusion of the witnesses’ testimony, Aetna made an offer of proof. It was at that point that the pleadings were marked, identified and offered as defense exhibit number one.

[AETNA]: We would offer Defendant’s Exhibit Number 1, and that’s our bill, Your Honor.

The pleadings were only offered generally. Aetna did not offer the pleadings for impeachment or any other limited purpose. When evidence which may be admissible for a limited purpose is excluded, such exclusion shall not be a ground for complaint on appeal unless the proponent expressly offers the evidence for its limited, admissible purpose. Powell v. Powell, 554 S.W.2d 850, 855 (Tex. App.-Tyler 1977, writ ref’d n.r.e.). We overrule Aetna’s first point.

Life Table

On April 24, 1991, approximately one month after the jury’s verdict, Hill filed a motion for judgment on the verdict. The trial court set a hearing on that motion for May 15, 1991. On May 10, 1991 Hill filed an amended motion for judgment and attached the life table which Aetna complains was erroneously considered. On May 30, 1991, the trial court held a hearing on Hill’s amended motion for judgment. At that time Aetna argued that the trial court could not take judicial notice of the life table post-verdict. Specifically, Aetna contended that the life table was controversial in nature and that life expectancy was a fact issue for the jury. The trial court disagreed and entered judgment based on the figures in the life table.2 Aetna asserts that the trial court erred in taking judicial notice of the life table.

McKibben v. McKibben, 567 S.W.2d 538, 539 (Tex. Civ. App.-San Antonio 1978, no writ) (judicial notice of life expectancy according to United States Department of Health, Education & Welfare Life Tables).3

*3 A court shall take judicial notice if requested by a party and supplied with the necessary information. TEX. R. CIV. EVID. 201(f). At the conclusion of that hearing, the trial court entered judgment based upon its judicial notice of the life table. We hold that the trial court correctly took judicial notice of the life table. We overrule Aetna’s second point and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Do Not Publish

Tex. R. App. P. 90



In her brief, Hill argues that Aetna’s first point is multifarious because it is unclear whether Aetna is complaining about the exclusion of testimony about the pleading or exclusion of the document itself. Later, she states that her review of the record indicates that Aetna is complaining only of the exclusion of the document itself. We agree.


Damages were not a jury issue because the parties stipulated to the amount of Hill’s weekly benefit. The only element for the trial court’s determination was Hill’s life expectancy.


The life-expectancy table is not excluded by the hearsay rule according to rule 803(17): “published compilations, generally used and relied upon by the public or by persons in particular occupations.” TEX. R. CIV. EVID. 803(17).

End of Document