The contents of voluminous writings or records which cannot conveniently be examined in court may be presented in the form of a summary, chart, or the like, which accurately reflects the contents of the underlying documents. The originals, or duplicates, may be made available for examination or copying, or both, by other parties at a reasonable time and place. The court may order that they be produced in court.
This section is derived from Commonwealth v. Greenberg, 339 Mass. 557, 581–582, 160 N.E.2d 181, 197 (1959), and the cases cited in Section 611(a), Manner and Order of Interrogation and Presentation: Control by Court.
“[I]n a trial embracing so many details and occupying so great a length of time . . . during which a great mass of books and documents were put in evidence, concise statements of their content verified by persons who had prepared them from the originals were the only means for presenting to the jury an intelligible view of the issues involved” (quotation and citations omitted).
Id. at 582, 160 N.E.2d at 197.
“[C]are must be taken to insure that summaries accurately reflect the contents of the underlying documents and do not function as pedagogical devices that unfairly emphasize part of the proponent’s proof” (quotations and citations omitted). Welch v. Keene Corp., 31 Mass. App. Ct. 157, 165–166, 575 N.E.2d 766, 771 (1991). The witness presenting the summary is not permitted to state deductions or inferences, but may testify as to the results of his or her computations. Commonwealth v. Greenberg, 339 Mass. at 582, 160 N.E.2d at 197. The court may order that the original be produced. Cf. Cornell-Andrews Smelting Co. v. Boston & P.R. Corp., 215 Mass. 381, 390–391, 102 N.E. 625, 628 (1913).