res gestae

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In Handel v. New York Rapid Transit Corp. (1937), Handel died as a result of an accident where the conductor of a train closed the door on his body. Right after the accident, the decedent said: “Save me. Help me—why did that conductor close the door on me.” At issue in the case was whether the decedent’s declaration implicating the defendant of negligence was admissible as part of res gestae; if so, that would establish a prima facie cause of action. The New York appellate court, however, held that the decedent’s statement, which was made after the accident but related to the accident, was not res gestae, so it was inadmissible hearsay. Instead, the court characterized the statement as merely a statement relating to a past event.