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Gerics v. Trevino

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 19, 2019

ADAM GERICS, Plaintiff,
v.
ALEX TREVINO, ET AL., Defendants.

          Stephanie Dawkins Davis United States Magistrate Judge.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS IN LIMINE [#88, #89, #90]

          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Present before the Court are Defendants' three Motions in Limine. Dkt. Nos. 88, 89, 90. The Motions are fully briefed, and the Court will resolve each of them without a hearing. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will GRANT IN PART and DENY IN PART the Motions [#88, #89, #90].

         II. Discussion

         A motion in limine refers to “any motion, whether made before or during trial, to exclude anticipated prejudicial evidence before the evidence is actually offered.” Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 40, n.2 (1984). The purpose of these motions is “to narrow the issues remaining for trial and to minimize disruptions at trial.” United States v. Brawner, 173 F.3d 966, 970 (6th Cir. 1999). In disposing of a motion in limine, the guiding principle is to “ensure evenhanded and expeditious management of trials.” Ind. Ins. Co. v. GE, 326 F.Supp.2d 844, 846 (N.D. Ohio, 2004).

         Here, Defendants present three Motions. See Dkt. Nos. 88, 89, 90. First, Defendants ask the Court to exclude Plaintiff's expert witnesses from trial. See Dkt. No. 88. Second, Defendants ask the Court to exclude any evidence of after-the-fact legal conclusions drawn about whether there was probable cause for Plaintiff's arrest. See Dkt. No. 89. Finally, Defendants ask the Court to exclude any evidence of their prior disciplinary history. See Dkt. No. 90. The Court will address each of these Motions, in turn, below.

         A. The Court will GRANT Defendants' Motion in Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's Expert Witnesses [#88].

         Defendants' first Motion in Limine requests that the Court exclude Plaintiff's expert witnesses from trial because Plaintiff failed to make the required, timely expert disclosures. The Court will Grant this request.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2)(B) provides that along with disclosing the identity of any expert who will testify at trial, parties must provide a written report containing: “(i) a complete statement of all opinions the witness will express and the basis and reasons for them; (ii) the facts or data considered by the witness in forming them; (iii) any exhibits that will be used to summarize or support them; (iv) the witness's qualifications, including a list of all publications authored in the previous 10 years; (v) a list of all other cases in which, during the previous 4 years, the witness testified as an expert at trial or by deposition; and (vi) a statement of compensation to be paid for the study and testimony in the case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B)(i)-(vi). Subsection (a)(2)(D)(i) of Rule 26 requires that, absent a stipulation or court order, the above disclosures be made at least 90 days before trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(D)(i). A failure to comply with this deadline may result in the exclusion of the expert witness at trial. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1) (“If a party fails to provide information or identify a witness as required by Rule 26(a) or (e), the party is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.”).

         Here, Defendants assert -- and Plaintiff does not refute -- that Plaintiff failed to provide written reports along with his expert witness disclosures, as required by Rule 26. Plaintiff does not attempt to justify these omissions; rather, Plaintiff contends that he does not plan to call any expert witnesses at trial. Accordingly, pursuant to Rule 37, the Court will GRANT Defendants' Motion in Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's Expert Witnesses [#88].

         B. The Court will GRANT Defendants' Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of After-the-Fact Legal Conclusions Relating to the Issue of Probable Cause for Plaintiff's Arrest.

         Defendants' second Motion in Limine requests that the Court exclude evidence of any after-the-fact legal conclusions drawn about whether there was probable cause for Plaintiff's arrest. Specifically: (1) Officer Joseph Hall's admission that -- based on the information he received subsequent to the arrest --Plaintiff's arrest was unlawful; and (2) the Genesee County Circuit Court's Opinion and Order ruling that Officer Hall lacked probable cause for Plaintiff's arrest. See Dkt. No. 89. Defendants argue that this evidence should be excluded because it lacks relevance, or in the alternative, will mislead and/or confuse the issues for the jury during trial. The Court will agree.

         As a general rule, evidence that is relevant is admissible at trial. But see FRE 402 (“Irrelevant evidence is not admissible.”). “Evidence is relevant if: (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action.” FRE 401. Still, even where evidence is relevant, a trial court has the discretion to exclude the evidence “if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the ...


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