Sohal et al v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation et al

Filing 148

ORDER Granting as Unopposed 119 Motion in Limine No. 1; DENYING 122 Motion in Limine No. 4; GRANTING IN PART 123 Motion in Limine No. 5; and issuing tentative ruling and questions on remaining motions in limine. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on January 24, 2013. (jswlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/24/2013)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 ROBERTA SOHAL, et al., 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 No. C 11-01941 JSW Plaintiffs, v. ORDER RE MOTIONS IN LIMINE FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE CORPORATION,et al., 13 Defendants. 14 / 15 16 The Court has considered the parties’ motions in limine, the opposition briefs, and 17 relevant legal authority, and it finds that several of the motions in limine can be resolved 18 without oral argument. See N.D. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). The Court shall not hear oral argument on 19 any motion in limine that it definitively resolves in this Order, and this Order shall constitute 20 the Court’s final ruling on those motions. 21 The Court also issues its tentative ruling on several motions in limine and the parties 22 shall be prepared to address any questions set forth in this Order at the Final Pretrial 23 Conference. They shall not submit additional briefing on these questions. Final Rulings on Plaintiffs’ Motions in Limine 24 25 1. The Court grants, as unopposed, the motion to exclude any written evidence of 26 agency not produced in discovery. (Docket No. 119.) However, the Court notes that this ruling 27 shall apply to all parties and all evidence. That is, any evidence requested, but not produced in 28 discovery, shall not be admitted at trial. If any party objects to the admission of evidence on 1 this basis, the objection must be supported with the specific discovery request and the responses 2 thereto. 3 2. The Court denies the motion exclude evidence regarding the character of Taj 4 Lockett (Docket No. 122) on the basis that this evidence is relevant to Ms. Locket’s credibility, 5 whether or not she testifies at trial. 6 3. The Court grants, in part, as unopposed the motion to preclude the expert categories 2 through 5 of Ms. Greenfield’s report. Any evidence by Ms. Greenfield regarding 9 Ms. Lockett shall be governed by the ruling on Plaintiffs’ motion in limine number 2, as set 10 forth above. The Court shall permit testimony on categories 1 and 8, but any such testimony 11 For the Northern District of California testimony of Julia Leah Greenfield (Docket No. 123) and shall exclude any testimony regarding 8 United States District Court 7 shall be limited to standard industry practices. 12 Tentative Rulings on Plaintiffs’ Motions in Limine 13 1. To exclude evidence that Plaintiffs’ lacked the ability to cure the loan default 14 (Docket No. 120): The Court tentatively denies the motion. However, the Court is tentatively 15 inclined to permit Plaintiffs to explain why they did not cure the alleged default, if Defendants 16 introduce such evidence. 17 2. To exclude unwritten evidence of agency regarding the beneficial interest in the 18 deed of trust (Docket No. 121): The Court tentatively denies the motion on the basis that the 19 statute of frauds does not apply, and unwritten evidence would be relevant to whether Wells 20 Fargo was authorized to act as Freddie Mac’s agent in a beneficiary capacity. 21 a. Plaintiffs refer the Court to Section 66.17 of Freddie Mac’s servicing guide. Do 22 Defendants contend that they complied with the second full paragraph of that 23 provision and, if so, is there evidence of such an assignment? 24 Tentative Rulings on Defendants’ Motions 25 1. 26 Brenda Wade and Roger Freed (Docket No. 109): The Court tentatively grants this motion. 27 28 To exclude any and all evidence of emotional distress including expert testimony by a. What is Plaintiffs’ response to question 3 of the Order in Advance of Pretrial Conference (Docket No. 144)? 2 1 b. Courts have held that, where economic injury is involved, “‘unless the defendant is an object, recovery is available only if the emotional distress arises out of the 4 defendant’s breach of some other legal duty and the emotional distress is 5 proximately caused by [breach of the independent duty]. Even then, with rare 6 exceptions, a breach of the duty must threaten physical injury, not simply 7 damage to property or financial interests.’” Ehrlich v. Menzies, 24 Cal.4th 543, 8 555 (1999) (quoting Potter v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., 6 Cal.4th 965, 985 9 (1993); see also Stoiber v. Honeychuck, 101 Cal. App. 3d 903 (1980) (noting that 10 landlord had duty to tenant to maintain premises in safe and habitable condition). 11 For the Northern District of California has assumed a duty to plaintiff in which the emotional condition of the plaintiff 3 United States District Court 2 What evidence can Plaintiffs put forth, if any, to show that Defendants owed 12 them a special duty such that emotional distress damages would be warranted? 13 2. To exclude testimony regarding wrongful foreclosure on theories other than the 14 ones presented in Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 110): The Court 15 tentatively denies this motion, but would be inclined to require a limiting instruction that it 16 goes solely to the issue of whether the defendants acted with malice or oppression. 17 3. To exclude testimony regarding Plaintiffs’ business and the nature thereof 18 (Docket No. 111): The Court tentatively denies this motion, but would be inclined to require a 19 limiting instruction that it goes solely to the issue of whether the defendants acted with malice 20 or oppression. 21 22 23 4. Court tentatively grants this motion. a. 24 25 To exclude evidence of the unlawful detainer proceedings (Docket No. 112): The Do Defendants contend that Plaintiffs have not asserted a claim for unlawful detainer? b. The elements of a tort claim for wrongful eviction are: (1) a plaintiff’s peaceable 26 possession, and (2) the defendant’s forcible entry. See Spinks v. Equity 27 Residential Briarwood Apartments, 171 Cal. App.4th 1004, 1040. What is 28 Plaintiffs’ best argument that Defendants’ purported knowledge of the nature of 3 1 their business would support the “forcible entry” element of this claim, given 2 that they and their tenants have not been evicted? 3 c. Are Plaintiffs really contending that the unlawful detainer proceeding amounted 4 to malicious prosecution? See Bertero v. National General Corp., 13 Cal. 3d 43, 5 50 (1974) (elements of a malicious prosecution claim are: (1) defendant 6 commenced a previous action and pursued it to a legal termination in plaintiff’s 7 favor; (2) defendant brought the action without probable cause; and (3) 8 defendant initiated the action with malice). 9 Dated: January 24, 2013 JEFFREY S. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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