Kielsmeier v. Penske Truck Leasing Company Limited Partnership et al
ORDER: IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' Rule 42 Motion for Separate Trials on Liability and Damages, (Doc. 21 ), is GRANTED in part. Accordingly, the Court orders separate trials to the same jury on the issues of liability and damages, with the damages trial to run immediately after the jury renders its verdict, if they find in Plaintiff's favor. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants' request for oral argument on bifurcation, (Doc. 21 ), is DENIED [see attached Order for details]. Signed by Senior Judge James A Teilborg on 9/28/17.(MAW)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
Penske Truck Leasing Company Limited
Partnership, et al.,
Pending before the Court is Defendants’ unopposed Rule 42 Motion for Separate
Trials on Liability and Damages. (Doc. 21). Defendants seek to bifurcate liability and
damages into separate trials. (Id.) Defendants request oral argument on this issue. (Id.)
Plaintiff failed to respond within fourteen days, which this Court treats as consent. See
LRCiv 7.2(c), (i).
This Court may “order a separate trial of one or more separate issues” “for
convenience, to avoid prejudice, or to expedite and economize.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(b).
This grant of power affords the Court with “broad discretion” in deciding whether to
bifurcate a trial. Zivkovic v. S. Cal. Edison Co., 302 F.3d 1080, 1088 (9th Cir. 2002).
Defendants make four claims supporting their request for bifurcation.
Defendants claim that bifurcation will protect them from prejudice, because Plaintiff’s
damages case will involve evidence of allegedly graphic injuries, which could
inappropriately influence the jury on the issues of liability. (Doc. 21 at 4–5). Second,
Defendants claim that bifurcation will serve to economize, because liability is a
dispositive issue that could obviate the need to delve into the relatively complex medical
testimony that Plaintiff allegedly intends to put on at trial.
Defendants claim that bifurcation will not cause any delay or duplicative litigation,
because the evidence on liability and damages is entirely distinct. (Id. at 7–8). Fourth,
Defendants claim that separate trials will not prejudice Plaintiff, because Plaintiff will
still be afforded a jury trial on both issues and bifurcation will not cause delay or
duplicative litigation. (Id. at 8).
This Court agrees with Defendants.
(Id. at 5–7).
However, liability and damages will be
bifurcated into separate trials, but to the same jury. If the jury returns a liability verdict
for Plaintiff, the damages trial will immediately proceed.
Finally, because Defendants’ motion is unopposed and no related issues are
pending, Defendants’ request for oral argument is denied.
Based on the foregoing,
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ Rule 42 Motion for Separate Trials on
Liability and Damages, (Doc. 21), is GRANTED in part. Accordingly, the Court orders
separate trials to the same jury on the issues of liability and damages, with the damages
trial to run immediately after the jury renders its verdict, if they find in Plaintiff’s favor.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ request for oral argument on
bifurcation, (Doc. 21), is DENIED.
Dated this 28th day of September, 2017.
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