Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

West v. Wilke

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

September 27, 2019

MIKAYLA WEST, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT WILKE, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTIONS IN LIMINE (ECF NOS. 36, 38), DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTIONS IN LIMINE (ECF NOS. 40, 41, 44), GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTIONS IN LIMINE (ECF NOS. 42, 43, 45), AND DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO DESIGNATE EXPERT (ECF NO. 66)

          THOMAS L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On December 29, 2017, Plaintiff, Mikayla West, filed a complaint alleging race discrimination and retaliation against her former employer, the VA Hospital in Saginaw, MI. ECF No. 1. On May 6, 2019, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 27. The motion was granted in part and denied in part, dismissing Plaintiff’s race discrimination claim, but retaining the retaliation claim. ECF No. 33.

         On July 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed her first motion in limine to exclude testimony and evidence suggesting Plaintiff resigned from her position and was not terminated. ECF No. 36. Plaintiff’s second motion in limine sought to exclude hearsay statements and hearsay within hearsay statements regarding Plaintiff. ECF No. 38. On July 30, 2019, Defendant filed his first motion in limine to exclude evidence related to Plaintiff’s dismissed claim of race discrimination (ECF No. 40), his second motion in limine to exclude evidence from co-workers that does not go to the merits of the complaints about Plaintiff’s performance (ECF 41), his third motion in limine to exclude evidence of unrelated EEOC Activity (ECF No. 42), his fourth motion to limine to exclude evidence of Remarks by Non-Decisionmakers (ECF No. 43), his fifth motion in limine to exclude hearsay evidence or testimony by Plaintiff or witness Crystal Alexander (ECF No. 44), and his sixth motion in limine to bar any reference to alleged spoliation (ECF No. 45). On August 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to designate a witness as a non-retained expert. ECF No. 66. For the following reasons, Plaintiff’s motion to exclude resignation evidence will be denied and her motion to exclude hearsay will be denied. Defendant’s motion to exclude racial discrimination evidence will be denied, his motion to exclude testimony unrelated to Plaintiff’s behavior will be denied, his motion to exclude other EEOC race complaints will be granted, his motion to exclude non-decisionmakers makers testimony will be granted, his motion in limine to exclude hearsay by Plaintiff or Alexander will be denied, and his motion in limine to bar reference to alleged spoliation will be granted. Plaintiff’s motion for leave to designate a witness as an expert will also be denied.

         I.

         In her first motion in limine, Plaintiff seeks to exclude any evidence that Plaintiff resigned or intended to resign from her position. ECF No. 36. Plaintiff states that her termination is not in dispute and that any testimony or documents that support her resignation do not have a tendency to make a fact of consequence more or less probable and would confuse the jury. Defendant argues Plaintiff has a handwritten note explaining her intent to resign from her job. Additionally, in her deposition, Plaintiff testified she submitted her resignation before she learned she was terminated. Defendant stipulates that Plaintiff was terminated but claims Plaintiff’s intended resignation is relevant to any damages assessment.

         Defendant will be permitted to offer evidence regarding Plaintiff’s intent to resign for the purpose of addressing damages. Plaintiff’s motion in limine will be denied.

         II.

         Plaintiff’s second motion in limine seeks to exclude hearsay statements and hearsay within hearsay statements regarding Plaintiff. The specified emails are organized by exhibit number from Defendant’s motion for summary judgment:

• 9, October 27, 2016 email from Susan Sobieray to Christina Tokarski (including handwritten notes)
• 10, October 28, 2016 email from Christina Tokariski to Edward Lesko
• 21, December 6, 2016 email from Susan Sobieray to Christina Tokarski
• 22, December 6, 2016 email from Terri Hayes to Christina Tokarski
• 26, December 15, 2016 typed note from Michelle McInnis
• 30, December 22, 2016 email from Terri Hayes to Christina Tokarski
• 31, Undated email to unknown recipient by Cathy Stadler
• 34, January 7, 2017 email from Christina Tokarski to Eric Berghoff
• 36, January 13, 2017 email from Susan Sobieray to Christina Tokarski
• 39, January 24, 2017 email from Christina Tokarski to Jeanne Barbosa and Eric Bergoff

         Plaintiff states that Defendant relied on unsworn statements and emails with hearsay statements in its motion for summary judgment including “Plaintiff’s coworkers discussing Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s performance, and alleged statements made by Plaintiff.” ECF No. 38. Plaintiff claims the written emails are inadmissible hearsay because there is no supporting testimony. She also claims the statements attributed to her referenced in the emails are hearsay within hearsay. Plaintiff claims she will be prejudiced if these statements are allowed into evidence.

         Defendant believes Plaintiff’s requests are premature. Defendant intends to call the authors of the emails as witnesses at trial and thereby allow the witnesses to be cross-examined on the stand. Second, Defendant cites FRE 801(d)(2)(A) and objects to Plaintiff’s assertion that Plaintiff’s statements memorialized in the emails are hearsay because Plaintiff is an opposing party and the statements are admissions.

         Hearsay is an out of court statement by a declarant offered for the truth of the matter. FRE 801. The emails themselves are out of court statements that Defendant appears to intend to offer for the truth of the matter and therefore are hearsay. Without evidence of a relevant hearsay exception or a non-hearsay purpose, the emails are inadmissible. Defendant may call the email authors as witnesses and inquire about their experiences with Plaintiff. While the majority of the emails are hearsay, the direct quotes attributed to Plaintiff will be admitted under FRE 801(d)(2)(A) (“A statement that meets the following conditions is not hearsay: . . . (2) The statement is offered against an opposing party and: (A) was made by the party in an individual or representative capacity”).

         III.

         Defendant’s first motion in limine is to exclude testimony or other evidence related to Plaintiff’s dismissed claim of race discrimination. ECF No. 40. Specifically Defendant seeks to exclude the following facts:

• “The fact that Archia Jackson, the nurse manager who hired West, was African American.”
• “The fact that West was the only African American nurse in the Specialty Clinic when she was hired.”
• “The fact that Crystal Alexander, an RN later hired in the clinic, is African American.”
• “The fact that all other nurses who worked in the clinic at the time were white.”
• “The fact Tokarski allegedly socialized with other employees outside of work.”
• “The fact Tokarski only allegedly socialized with white employees outside of work.”
• “The allegation that Tokarski’s alleged social activities outside of work with white employees was evidence of unequal treatment of African American nurses.”
• “The fact that West and Alexander believe they were treated differently because ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.