Watson v. J C Penney Corporation Inc et al

Filing 34

ORDER denying 16 J.C. Penney Corp's Motion in Limine; granting 18 J.C. Penney Corp's Motion in Limine; granting 20 J.C. Penney Corp's Motion in Limine; granting 22 J.C. Penney Corp's Motion in Limine without prejudice to plaintiff's argument that she is permitted to inquire in voir dire as to whether any prospective juror owns stock in or works for a liability insurance company. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 6/11/09. (jct)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS JONESBORO DIVISION BETTY WATSON v. No. 3:08CV00110 JLH DEFENDANTS ORDE R J.C. Penney Corporation has filed four motions in limine. The first motion in limine requests that the Court prevent plaintiff from mentioning in front of the jury or introducing into evidence medical expenses that were not paid by or on behalf of the plaintiff or for which she or another third party does not remain legally responsible. That motion cites Ark. Code Ann. 16-55-212(b) as authority. The Supreme Court of Arkansas has declared that statute unconstitutional. Johnson v. Rockwell Automation, Inc., ___ S.W.3d ___, 2009 WL 1218362 (Ark., April 30, 2009). Therefore, the first motion in limine is DENIED. Document #16. The second motion in limine seeks to exclude evidence of subsequent remedial measures and cites Rule 407 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The plaintiff agrees that subsequent remedial measures are not admissible to demonstrate liability but reserves the right to request permission to elicit testimony of subsequent remedial measures if the defendant opens the door. With that caveat, the second motion in limine is GRANTED. Document #18. The third motion in limine seeks to exclude hearsay from an unidentified customer and plaintiff's treating physician. The plaintiff agrees, so, without objection, the third motion in limine is GRANTED. Document #20. PLAINTIFF J.C. PENNEY CORPORATION, INC.; and JOHN DOE I The fourth motion in limine seeks to exclude evidence of settlement negotiations and evidence that J.C. Penney Corporation is covered by a policy of liability insurance. That motion cites Rules 408 and 411 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The plaintiff agrees that evidence of settlement negotiations and evidence of liability insurance are inadmissible but states that she is not barred from inquiring in voir dire as to whether any of the potential jurors work for or own stock in a liability insurance company.1 The fourth motion in limine is therefore GRANTED without prejudice to plaintiff's argument that she is permitted to inquire in voir dire as to whether any prospective juror owns stock in or works for a liability insurance company. Document #22. In the event that J.C. Penney Corporation believes that such a line of inquiry is not permitted during voir dire, J.C. Penney should make an appropriate motion with citations to authority on the specific issue of whether, when the defendant has an applicable policy of liability insurance, the plaintiff may inquire in voir dire as to whether prospective jurors work for or own stock in a liability insurance company. IT IS SO ORDERED this 11th day of June, 2009. J. LEON HOLMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE Her response actually says that she is not barred from inquiring in voir dire whether any of the potential witnesses work for or own stock in a liability insurance company, but the Court assumes that she meant to say jurors rather than witnesses. 1

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