Essentially: When the statement is not relevant for the content of the statement's truthfulness, then it is not hearsay.
i. *When an out-of-court statement is relevant w/o regard to whether it conveys accurate information, then the hearsay prohibition does not operate and testimony about the statement is allowed.
1. How can a litigant ever claim that an out-of-court statement is relevant w/o also claiming that the jury should believe the substance of what the speaker said?
2. Example: Suppose a party needed to prove that security guards were patrolling a warehouse on a particular evening. A janitor could testify that as he passed the warehouse door he heard the guards talking to each other. The janitor would be permitted to quote the words the guards said b/c proof that the words were said is relevant to an issue at the trial (were the guards in the warehouse?), and using the words as relevant to that issue does not require that the content of the guards' statements be true or be believed by the jury. No matter what the guards said, and no matter whether it was true or false, the fact that they were speaking supports the proposition for which the janitor's testimony is sought to be introduced: The guards were present in the warehouse. The guards' words would be introduced not to show that what they asserted was true, but just to show that the words were said.
ii. The plaintiff's case in a defamation suit provides another clear example.
1. Example: The P must prove that the D said something defamatory about the P, but when the P has someone testify about the D's out-of-court statement, the P is not seeking to have the jury believe that the statement was accurate. The P needs to have the jury believe that the allegedly defamatory words were uttered, not that they were a truthful report of some aspect of reality. The P's position is that words were said, not that the words were true. For this reason, the hearsay rule allows quotation of a D's out-of-court statement.
iv. Language of contracts is another instance of out-of-court words being used in a non-hearsay way
1. Example: When a litigant introduces evidence that a party, out of court, wrote or spoke words that created a contract, the litigant is not, in theory, relying on those words to establish their own truth. If the contract is enforced, it will not be b/c the party's promise was taken as "true" by the court. The contract will be enforced if legal principles independent from the "truth" or "falsity" of the party's words require that those words once spoken or written constitute a contract.
a. So only want the evidence that he spoke in the first place?
2. Contracts example belongs to a category sometimes called verbal acts or verbal parts of acts. If you say, "This is a gift," and hand someone some money, it is a gift in some jurisdictions under property law doctrines. In those places, testimony that the donor said, "This is a gift," would not be hearsay b/c the statement would be introduced merely to show that the words were said (the jurisdiction's substantive law takes over the task of converting the saying of those words to a decision about ownership of the money).
Essentially, for monograms, inscriptions, and commercial signage, can't introduce evidence that b/c a car had "ABC Pizza" on it, that it was owned by "ABC Pizza." This is hearsay. To get around this, first introduce evidence that ABC owns cars that say ABC Pizza on them. Then get a witness to say that the person who ran the red light was driving a car that had "ABC Pizza" on it.
b. *Where the identifying characteristics of a thing are a monogram or inscription, or someone's name, the hearsay rule is implicated if a party tries to use the writing to show that its meaning is true. If a party just uses a writing to show that the writing existed, and uses other proof to suggest that things w/ that writing have certain attributes (such as ownership by the person named in the monogram or inscription), there is no hearsay problem.
a. Example: To prove that a hit-and-run vehicle belonged to ABC Pizza, testimony that writing on the side of the vehicle said "ABC Pizza." This would be relevant. Since the words are equivalent to a statement, "This truck is operated by ABC Pizza," it is clear that they are sought to be introduced to prove the truth of what they assert. Therefore, the words meet the standard definition of hearsay. (There's an exception to this if ABC Pizza is a party to the case though - discussed later).
i. One approach to avoid the hearsay approach would be to find evidence from other source that trucks w/ the words "ABC Pizza" on them are operated by ABC Pizza. Then, testimony that the hit-and-run truck had "ABC Pizza" on it could be offered just to prove that the words were on the truck w/o any requirement that their underlying meaning be taken as true merely b/c of what the words say
ii. Once it is established that the hit-and-run truck said "ABC Pizza" and that ABC Pizza did own trucks w/ that type of writing on them, the problem of trying to draw meaning from the out-of-court words disappears
iii. The analysis becomes the same as if the victim saw a truck w/ blue and yellow spots and there was testimony that the D operated trucks w/ blue and yellow spots