Patterson v. The City of Chicago et al
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order Signed by the Honorable Amy J. St. Eve on 2/28/2017:Mailed notice(kef, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
THE CITY OF CHICAGO, et. al.,
Hon. Amy J. St. Eve
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
AMY J. ST. EVE, District Court Judge:
Before the Court are Plaintiff Calvin Patterson’s (“Patterson”) motions in limine as well
as the motions in limine of Defendants the City of Chicago (the “City”) and Chicago Police
Department (“CPD”) officers Steven Hefel (“Hefel”) Michael Laurie (“Laurie”) (collectively,
“Defendants”). (R. 86, 87.) The Court has previously granted, based on the parties’ agreement,
Patterson’s motions in limine numbers 1–10 and Defendants’ motion in limine number 4. (R. 90,
91.) Defendants have also indicated that they do not object to Plaintiff’s motions in limine
numbers 11 and 22. (R. 97, Defs.’ Response, 1, 14.) The Court therefore grants those two
motions. With respect to the disputed motions, the Court grants in part and denies in part the
parties’ motions in limine for the reasons that follow.
Patterson alleges that on August 30, 2014, Hefel and Laurie arrived at 1632 S. St. Louis
Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. (R. 44, Second Am. Compl., ¶ 5.) That evening, around 7:30,
Patterson left a store near the intersection of W. 16th Street and S. Drake Avenue to walk toward
his cousin’s house nearby. (Id. at ¶¶ 6–8.) When he arrived at his cousin’s house, he saw a
police vehicle speed through a vacant parking lot. (Id. at ¶ 9.) One of the defendant officers
drove the car and the other was in the passenger seat. (Id. at ¶ 11.)
Patterson claims that the police car “sped down the vacant parking lot and without
provocation, slammed into [Patterson’s] body forcefully,” throwing him to the ground and
injuring him. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Before the car hit Patterson, he put his hands up “in an effort to be
cooperative.” (Id. at ¶ 10.) After hitting Patterson, at least one of the officers exited the car,
“forcefully grabbed [Patterson], pulled him and placed him into the police vehicle.” (Id. at ¶ 13.)
Other officers arrived at the scene, and after conversing with Hefel and Laurie, the
defendant officers drove Patterson to an alley near Drake Street and S. St. Louis Street. (Id. at
¶¶ 14–15.) One of the defendants took Patterson out of the car and “without reason or
provocation, threw [him] on the ground using significant force.” (Id. at ¶¶ 16–17.) When he was
on the ground, at least one of the defendants kicked or hit Patterson. (Id. at ¶ 17.) As a result,
Patterson suffered injuries and lost consciousness.” (Id. at ¶ 18.)1
Patterson claims that on August 30, 2014, he did not (1) obstruct, strike, assault, batter, or
use force against the officers; or (2) violate a law or rule. (Id. at ¶ 21.) Patterson also alleges
that he was not “the focus or subject of a criminal investigation.” (Id. at ¶ 23.)
Based on the above, Patterson alleges six counts against Defendants: (1) excessive force
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (2) false arrest under § 1983, (3) false arrest under Illinois law, (4)
battery under Illinois law, (5) a claim for indemnification under 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/9-102
against the City should any of the individual defendants be found liable for any of the alleged
In the Case Statement in the Joint Proposed Final Pretrial Order, Patterson does not indicate that the defendants
beat him after taking him out of the police car. (R. 88 at 2.)
counts, and (6) a claim for respondeat superior against the City for any of the state-law claims.
(Id. at ¶¶ 27–47.)
Defendants broadly deny Patterson’s allegations. They admit, however, that either Hefel
or Laurie was driving the police car to which Patterson refers, that the officer driving the vehicle
exited the car at some point, that other officers arrived at the scene, that a defendant drove
Patterson to the alley he references in his complaint, and that the defendant officers were acting
within the scope of their employment during the relevant time. (R. 95, Answer, ¶¶ 11, 13–15,
19.) Defendants admit that Patterson did not obstruct, strike, or batter them, but they claim that
he violated a law. (Id. at ¶ 21.)2 Specifically, as the parties’ motions in limine have made clear,
Defendants claim Hefel and/or Laurie “observed Plaintiff engage in a hand-to-hand transaction
the Defendants believed to be a narcotics transaction.” (R. 97 at 4; see also R. 87 at 15.)
In the Joint Proposed Final Pre-Trial Order, Defendants explain that Patterson “sustained
his injuries by failing down a set of stairs.” (R. 88 at 2.) They again admit to placing Patterson
in the police vehicle and driving him a block away, but deny hitting Patterson with the vehicle or
throwing him out of the vehicle and to the ground. (Id.)
Motions in Limine
Trial courts have broad discretion in ruling on evidentiary issues before and during trial.
See Bridgeview Health Care Ctr., Ltd. v. Clark, 816 F.3d 935, 939 (7th Cir. 2016); Whitfield v.
Int’l Truck & Engine Corp., 755 F.3d 438, 447 (7th Cir. 2014). “Although the Federal Rules of
Evidence do not explicitly authorize in limine rulings, the practice has developed pursuant to the
district court’s inherent authority to manage the course of trials.” Luce v. United States, 469 U.S.
The Answer is not clear if Defendants claim Patterson assaulted them. (R. 95 at ¶ 21.)
38, 41 n.4 (1984); see also Dietz v. Bouldin, 136 S. Ct. 1885, 1891 (2016) (“The Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure set out many of the specific powers of a federal district court,” but “they are not
all encompassing,” for example, they make no provision “for the power of a judge to hear a
motion in limine.”). “Trial courts issue rulings on motions in limine to guide the parties on what
evidence it will admit later in trial,” and “[a]s a trial progresses, the presiding judge remains free
to alter earlier rulings.” Perry v. City of Chicago, 733 F.3d 248, 252 (7th Cir. 2013). It is wellestablished that a motion in limine “is an important tool available to the trial judge to ensure the
expeditious and evenhanded management of the trial proceedings” and that it “permits the trial
judge to eliminate from further consideration evidentiary submissions that clearly ought not be
presented to the jury because they clearly would be inadmissible for any purpose.” Jonasson v.
Lutheran Child & Family Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997).
Federal Rules of Evidence
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 401, evidence is relevant if “it has any tendency to
make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence” and “the fact is of
consequence in determining the action.” Fed. R. Evid. 401; United States v. Boros, 668 F.3d
901, 907 (7th Cir. 2012). In short, Rule 401 defines relevance broadly. See United States v.
Boswell, 772 F.3d 469, 475 (7th Cir. 2014). Rule 402 “provides the corollary that, with certain
exceptions, ‘[r]elevant evidence is admissible’ and ‘[i]rrelevant evidence is not admissible.’”
Boros, 668 F.3d at 907. The Court, however, may exclude relevant evidence “if its probative
value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice,
confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting
cumulative evidence.” Fed. R. Evid. 403. When considering Rule 403, courts use “a sliding
scale approach: as the probative value increases, so does our tolerance of the risk of prejudice.”
Whitehead v. Bond, 680 F.3d 919, 930 (7th Cir. 2012). “Evidence is unduly prejudicial if it
creates a genuine risk that the emotions of the jury will be excited to irrational behavior, and the
risk is disproportionate to the probative value of the offered evidence.” Morgan v. City of
Chicago, 822 F.3d 317, 339 (7th Cir. 2016) (citation omitted).
Defendants’ Motions in Limine
Motion in Limine #1: Barring References to Other Civil Lawsuits, Civilian
Complaints, and/or Disciplinary Histories of Any Police Personnel Who May
Defendants seek to bar Plaintiff under Federal Rules of Evidence 404 and 608 from
introducing testimony relating to prior instances of alleged misconduct by defendant officers or
police officer witnesses. Defendants also say such evidence is irrelevant, hearsay, and
inadmissible under Rule 403. As Patterson points out, Defendants do not identify any evidence
in particular that they wish to bar. Without knowing what the prior incidents are that Patterson
seeks to introduce, it is impossible for the Court to conduct an analysis.
Patterson, however, identifies three lawsuits3 that he would like to introduce into
evidence and/or reference in cross-examination. One is a 2007 lawsuit claiming that in February
2007, Hefel stopped and searched the plaintiff without legal justification, wrote false and
misleading police reports, and battered the plaintiff by striking, kicking and/or punching him.
The second is a 2008 lawsuit claiming that on June 1, 2008, Hefel stopped and battered the
plaintiff. The third is a 2014 lawsuit against Hefel and Laurie claiming “on August 29, 2013, the
Defendants (along with other officers) participated in a raid during which a Chicago officer held
a gun to the chest of a 3-year-old, pointed a gun at an elderly plaintiff, violently shook and
Patterson does not suggest that any of the three lawsuits resulted in any particular findings of fact or findings of
liability. (R. 98 at 2–3.)
slammed another plaintiff against a wall.” (R. 98 at 3.) Based on an oddly placed footnote, the
Court believes Patterson seeks to introduce proof of the third lawsuit into evidence, while he
seeks only to cross-examine Hefel, Laurie, and/or other witnesses about the other two lawsuits.
(See id. at 3 n.2.) Because of the lack of clarity, the Court will assume that Patterson seeks to
introduce proof of all three lawsuits into evidence and also seeks to cross-examine witnesses
about the lawsuits under Federal Rule of Evidence 608(b). Patterson contends that “[s]imply put,
[he] should be able to argue that Defendant Hefel has a modus operandi and/or habit of stopping
and battering persons and of falsifying police reports to allege narcotics activity.” (Id. at 3.)
With respect to the third lawsuit, Patterson contends that because it is still pending, Defendants
have a motive to lie in the current case beyond being found liable for Patterson’s injuries. (Id.)
Rule 608(b) provides that “[e]xcept for a criminal conviction under Rule 609, extrinsic
evidence is not admissible to prove specific instances of a witness’s conduct in order to attack or
support the witness’s character for truthfulness.” The Court may, however, “on crossexamination, allow them to be inquired into if they are probative of the character for truthfulness
or untruthfulness of” either the testifying witness or another witness whose character the
testifying witness is testifying about. Fed. R. Evid. 608(b). The Seventh Circuit grants courts
“great discretion” under Rule 608. First Webber Grp., Inc. v. Horsfall, 738 F.3d 767, 778 (7th
Cir. 2013); see also United States v. Mandell, No. 12 CR 842, 2014 WL 464226, at *3 (N.D. Ill.
Feb. 3, 2014). Rule 403, however, applies to the scope of cross-examination. First Webber, 738
F.3d at 778; Mandell, 2014 WL 464226, at *3.
Under Rule 404(b), “[e]vidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove
a person’s character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance
with the character.” Such evidence “may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving
motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of
accident.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 404(b)(2). “[I]t’s not enough for the proponent of the other-act
evidence simply to point to a purpose in the ‘permitted’ list and assert that the other-act evidence
is relevant to it.” United States v. Gomez, 763 F.3d 845, 856 (7th Cir. 2014) (en banc). “In other
words, the rule allows the use of other-act evidence only when its admission is supported by
some propensity-free chain of reasoning.” Id.
Under Rule 406, “[e]vidence of a person’s habit . . . may be admitted to prove that on a
particular occasion the person or organization acted in accordance with the habit or routine
practice.” “[B]efore a court may admit evidence of habit, the offering party must establish the
degree of specificity and frequency of uniform response that ensures more than a mere
‘tendency’ to act in a given manner, but rather, conduct that is ‘semi-automatic’ in nature.”
Nelson v. City of Chicago, 810 F.3d 1061, 1073–74 (7th Cir. 2016).
Patterson is precluded from introducing the three lawsuits into evidence or from crossexamining witnesses about them. First, Patterson fails to show how these three incidents since
2008 establish the degree of specific and frequency of a uniform response to establish habit. A
habit is something semi-automatic in nature—hitting the snooze button every day at the same
time. Here, Patterson points to three lawsuits alleging conduct on three days over the last ten
years. This is insufficient. See id. (“A police officer’s decision to draw his gun, use handcuffs,
or search a car during a traffic stop can hardly be characterized as ‘habitual’ or ‘semiautomatic.’”)
Second, evidence of any of the lawsuits is also inadmissible under Rule 404. Patterson
argues that the allegations in the lawsuits show that the defendant officers have a modus
operandi of “stopping and battering persons and falsifying police reports to allege narcotics
activity.” (R. 98 at 3.) A litigant may in some cases use evidence of prior bad acts to show a
person’s modus operandi, though “any such evidence is usually offered to prove identity,” which
Patterson does not indicate is his intent. Hill v. City of Chicago, No. 06 C 6772, 2011 WL
3840336, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2011) (citing United States v. Robinson, 161 F.3d 463, 467
(7th Cir. 1998)). Here, Patterson’s modus operandi argument is a thinly veiled attempt to do
precisely what Rule 404(b) forbids: ask the jury to make an inference that because the defendants
committed battery or falsified police reports in the past (which may or may not be true), they did
the same thing on the day in question in this lawsuit. Gomez, 763 F.3d 845, 856. Moreover, the
prior bad acts that Patterson raises “do not meet the high degree of similarity required to prove
modus operandi.” Id.; United States v. Foster, 652 F.3d 776, 785 (7th Cir. 2011). The
allegations in the three lawsuits are unlike those in this case, where Patterson alleges he was
intentionally hit by a police car for no reason, placed in the police car, driven a short distance,
thrown out of the police car, and beaten. As for Patterson’s contention that the prior cases show
that Hefel has a modus operandi of falsifying police reports to allege narcotics activity, it is not
apparent that Patterson alleges that Hefel did that in this case. Moreover, the prior allegations
are of such a general, unspecific nature that Patterson cannot show the high degree of similarity
necessary to prove modus operandi.4
Finally, Patterson also is precluded from introducing evidence of or questioning
witnesses about the three lawsuits under Rule 403, as such questioning is minimally probative
but carries an unacceptable risk of unfair prejudice, jury confusion, and undue delay.5 First, any
With respect to the third lawsuit, even if Patterson could introduce evidence of the lawsuit to show the defendant
officers’ motive to lie, this evidence is inadmissible under Rule 403 for the reasons described in the following
The Court notes that even if evidence of the three lawsuits were admissible under Rules 404 or 406, the Court
would exclude it under Rule 403.
reference to the three lawsuits has a significant potential to mislead the jury into attempting to
decide those cases. Additionally, it could lead to distracting and time consuming mini-trials
regarding the merits of these other allegations. See Hill, 2011 WL 3840336, at *11. Second, the
three lawsuits are minimally probative. The allegations have not been proven, two of the
incidents happened nearly 10 years ago, one of the incidents happened in August 2013, and none
of the incidents involves conduct significantly like the conduct alleged in the current case.
Furthermore, the allegations in the three lawsuits—particularly the third case—are inflammatory
and carry a high likelihood that the jury will draw conclusions based on improper considerations.
See Gomez, 763 F.3d at 857. Finally, even if the currently pending third lawsuit creates an extra
motive for the defendant officers to lie, it does so minimally, as they already have such a motive
based on the allegations in this case.
Accordingly, the Court grants Defendants’ motion to the extent it addresses the three
lawsuits Patterson identifies.
Motion in Limine #2: Barring References to the City Indemnifying
Defendants for Any Compensatory Damages
Defendants seek to bar references that the City may indemnify any defendant officers for
compensatory damages. See 745 Ill. Comp. Stat 10/9-102 (providing that the City indemnify
employees for compensatory damages); 745 Ill. Stat. 10/2-302 (“It is hereby declared to be the
public policy of this State, however, that no local public entity may elect to indemnify an
employee for any portion of a judgment representing an award of punitive or exemplary
damages.”); Winston v. O’Brien, 773 F.3d 809, 814 (7th Cir. 2014) (“[I]ndemnification of
punitive damages is prohibited under Illinois law.”) In general, courts bar evidence of
indemnification because it may encourage juries to inflate compensatory damages awards. See
Hill v. City of Chicago, No. 06 C 6772, 2011 WL 3205304, at *4 (N.D. Ill. July 28, 2011) (citing
Lawson v. Trowbridge, 153 F.3d 368, 379 (7th Cir. 1998)). Patterson may, however, introduce
evidence of the City’s indemnification if Defendants “open the door by presenting evidence of
their financial condition” with respect to punitive damages. Id.; see also Gonzalez, 2015 WL
3671641, at *7 (“[I]f Defendants plead poverty as to punitive damages, they open the door for
Plaintiff to offer evidence of indemnification as to compensatory damages.”).
Defendants also request that the Court bar Plaintiff from referencing defense counsel as
“City lawyers” or “The City,” or similar terms. Patterson agrees not to do this. Patterson says,
however, that while he does not anticipate that he will need to refer to the City to prosecute his
claims, he asks leave of the court to do so if necessary. If Patterson wishes to refer to the City
for some reason, he must front the issue with the Court outside the presence of the jury. The
Court notes, however, that it will not strike the City from the case caption. See Jones v. City of
Chicago, No. 14-cv-4023, 2017 WL 413613, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 31, 2017); Bruce v. City of
Chicago, No. 09 C 4837, 2011 WL 3471074, at *4 (N.D. Ill. July 29, 2011); Wilbon v. Povanich,
No. 12 C 1132, 2016 WL 890671, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 9, 2016).
Motion in Limine #3: Barring Arguments that the Jury Should “Send a
Message” to the City with its Verdict or Punish the City
Defendants argue that the Court must bar Patterson from arguing that jurors should send a
message or punish the City with its verdict. Plaintiff cannot recover punitive damages from the
City. See Obrycka v. City of Chicago, No. 07 C 2372, 2012 WL 4060293, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sept.
14, 2012); Betts v. City of Chicago, 784 F. Supp. 2d 1020, 1032–33 (N.D. Ill. 2011). Patterson
therefore may not argue that jurors should send a message to the City or punish the City. See
Martinez v. City of Chicago, No. 14-cv-369, 2016 WL 3538823, at *14 (N.D. Ill. June 29, 2016).
This prohibition also applies to referencing sending a message or punishing the Chicago Police
Department, as “[i]nvoking the department is tantamount to invoking the city itself.” Id.
Patterson, may, however, argue that punitive damages can serve as an example to other
officers “that they should not do what Defendants did in this case.” Id. (emphasis in original).
Patterson may ask the jury to send a message to the defendant officers or other police officers
generally to deter the type of misconduct Patterson alleges here. Id. at *15; see also Jones, 2017
WL 413613, at *5.
The Court therefore grants Defendants’ motion with the caveat described in the preceding
Motion in Limine #5: barring References to Officers Lying, Conspiring,
Covering Up, or Maintaining a Code of Silence
Defendants seek to bar Patterson from offering evidence or argument that police officers
generally lie, conspire, cover up, or maintain a “code of silence” or “blue wall.” Patterson agrees
not to use the words “code of silence” or “blue wall,” but seeks to attack the officers’ bias based
upon group membership “in the same way any party may argue the bias of any witness in
relationship to a plaintiff or defendant.” (R. 98 at 5 (quoting Betts v. City of Chicago, 784 F.
Supp. 2d 1020, 1033 (N.D. Ill. 2011)).) Patterson is correct that he may argue that the officers
involved in this case are biased toward one another based on common group membership and
loyalty to one another. See Ratliff v. City of Chicago, No. 10 C 739, 2012 WL 58485551, at *4
(N.D. Ill. Nov. 19, 2012); see also Jones, 2017 WL 413613, at *3.
Motion in Limine #6: Barring References to Investigations
Defendants seek to bar Patterson from introducing evidence or making arguments
regarding investigations by the Independent Police Review Authority (“IPRA”) or the CPD.
Defendants do not indicate what evidence specifically they seek to bar. Patterson represents that
he “does not wish to introduce any evidence of the results and conclusions of [an investigation
regarding the incident involved in this case], but [Patterson] should be allowed to use documents
and statements of Defendant and witnesses . . . for impeachment and/or refreshing recollection.”
(R. 98 at 6.) Courts have excluded evidence “that there was an investigation, the reasons for
undertaking the investigation, or the findings and recommendations of IPRA” or similar
investigative bodies. See Bruce, 2011 WL 3471074, at *6. Statements made during an
investigation, however, may be admissible as party opponent admissions under Federal Rule of
Evidence 801(d)(2)(A) or used for impeachment purposes. See id. The parties, however, must
not refer to the IPRA or the fact of an internal investigation when raising such statements. See
Martinez, 2016 WL 3538823, at *12; Bruce, 2011 WL 3471074, at *6. The Court therefore
grants Defendants’ motion in part and denies it in part.
Defendants also seek to bar Patterson from “arguing or eliciting testimony that the City of
Chicago improperly trains, disciplines, monitors or controls police officers.” (R. 86 at 9.)
Patterson indicates that he “has no objection in so far as Plaintiff will not seek to demonstrate
that a failure to train or a Monell theory gave rise to a constitutional deprivation that the Plaintiff
sustained.” (R. 98 at 7.) Based on these representations, there appears to be no dispute between
the parties. Accordingly, the Court grants Defendants’ motion to the extent the parties agree.
Motion in Limine #7: Barring Implication or Testimony that CPD Personnel
Are Being Paid by the City to Appear in Court and Testify
Defendants seek to bar any reference to the City paying CPD personnel to testify at trial.
Patterson argues that “[t]o the extent that any CPD personnel are being paid more than the
normal wage to testify, Plaintiff should be entitled to elicit and argue that evidence to show
bias.” (R. 98 at 6.) Patterson is correct. See Jones, 2017 WL 413613, at *5; Martinez, 2016 WL
3538823, at *15; Torres v. City of Chicago, No. 12 C 7844, 2015 WL 12843889, at *10 (N.D.
Ill. Oct. 28, 2015). The Court therefore grants in part and denies in part Defendants’ motion.
Motion in Limine #8: Barring References to Any Violations of Police
Department Rules, Policies, Regulations, and General Orders
Defendants seek to bar any reference regarding violations of police department rules and
regulations, contending that they are not relevant “on the issue of whether Defendants Officers’
conduct was willful and wanton, and their admission would unfairly prejudice and confuse the
jury on the appropriate standard of liability.” (R. 86 at 10.) Patterson represents that he “will not
seek to demonstrate that the violation of a general order gives rise to constitutional liability.” (R.
98 at 6.) He contends, however, that “it may be necessary to refer to a general order for the
purpose of establishing proper policy (not policy that establishes liability but policy with regard
to procedure).” (Id.) Patterson says, for example, that the “rules might require that a police
report or criminal complaint be drafted in a particular fashion.” (Id.)
As far as the Court can tell, the parties appear to be in agreement. The Court therefore
grants Defendants’ motion to the extent the parties agree. “It is well-settled that violations of the
Chicago Police Department Rules and Regulations cannot establish proof that a defendant
violated a plaintiff's constitutional rights.” Hill v. City of Chicago, No. 06 C 6772, 2011 WL
3205304, at *3 (N.D. Ill. July 28, 2011) (citing Thompson v. City of Chicago, 472 F.3d 444, 454–
55 (7th Cir. 2006)). Moreover, evidence that a police officer violated a police department rule is
highly prejudicial and distracting in a § 1983 case. See Jones, 2017 WL 413613, at *3–4. If
Patterson wishes to refer to a CPD rule or regulation at trial for some reason other than showing
a violation of such a rule, he must front the issue with the Court outside the presence of the jury.
Motion in Limine #9: Barring Testimony, Argument, or Innuendo of Racial
Defendants seek to bar any argument or testimony suggesting that the defendant officers’
alleged misconduct was racially motivated. Patterson “agrees that there is no evidence of racial
motivation on the part of either Defendant (or other witness[es]),” and therefore agrees with
Defendants’ motion. (R. 98 at 7.) The Court therefore grants Defendants’ motion. Patterson
asks, however, that should evidence arise during trial of any racial motivation behind
Defendants’ alleged actions, that the Court revisit this ruling. The Court grants Patterson’s
request, as motion in limine rulings are provisional. Perry, 733 F.3d at 252.
Motion in Limine #10: Allowing Use of Patterson’s Prior Convictions
Defendants seek to impeach Patterson with evidence of three prior felony convictions
under Federal Rule of Evidence 609(a)(1)(A). (R. 86 at 12.) Under Federal Rule of Evidence
609(a)(1)(A), when a party wishes to attack a witness’s character for truthfulness, evidence of a
conviction for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than a year “must be admitted,
subject to Rule 403, in a civil case or in a criminal case in which the witness is not a defendant.”
If, however, “10 years have passed since the witness’s conviction or release from confinement,
whichever is later,” the evidence of the conviction is only admissible, if, among other things, “its
probative value, supported by specific facts and circumstances, substantially outweighs its
prejudicial effect.” Fed. R. Evid. 609(b)(1).
Defendants point to three prior convictions that they would like to reference: (1) a 2013
conviction for attempted possession of a stolen vehicle, which resulted in a three-year sentence;
(2) a 2011 conviction for Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon, which resulted in a three-year
sentence, and (3) a 2007 conviction for manufacturing, delivering, or being in possession of a
narcotic or controlled substance, which resulted in a three-year sentence. (R. 86 at 12–13.)
Patterson agrees that all three of these convictions fall within the scope of Rule 609(a)(1)(A).
(R. 87 at 14–15.) Thus, the Court must consider whether Rule 403 precludes impeachment with
In criminal cases, the Seventh Circuit has identified five considerations for weighing
probative value against prejudicial effect: “(1) the impeachment value of the prior crime; (2) the
point in time of the conviction and the defendant’s subsequent history; (3) the similarity between
the past crime and the charged crime; (4) the importance of the defendant’s testimony; and (5)
the centrality of the credibility issue.” United States v. Montgomery, 390 F.3d 1013, 1015 (7th
Cir. 2004) (citing United States v. Mahone, 537 F.2d 922, 929 (7th Cir. 1976); Smith v. Nurse,
No. 14-cv-5514, 2016 WL 4539698, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 31, 2016); Buchanan v. McCann, No.
08 C 7063, 2012 WL 1987917, at *1 (N.D. Ill. June 4, 2012); Hill v. City of Chicago, No. 06 C
6772, 2011 WL 2637214, at *1 (N.D. Ill. June 6, 2011). “While not all of those factors will
apply in civil cases, the same general concerns may illuminate the court’s analysis.” Buchanan,
2012 WL 1987917, at *1. Courts have broad discretion under Rule 403. Anderson v. City of
Chicago, No. 09 C 2311, 2010 WL 4928875, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 30, 2010) (citing Jenkins v.
Chrysler Motors Corp., 316 F.3d 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2002)). They should take care, however, “to
ensure that a civil rights plaintiff’s criminal past is not being used to unfairly prejudice him or
her.” Id. (quoting Gora v. Costa, 971 F.2d 1325, 1331 (7th Cir. 1992)).
With respect to the first factor, Patterson’s two oldest convictions—for unlawful use of a
weapon and for manufacturing, delivering, or being in possession of a narcotic or controlled
substance—have little do with truthfulness. See Buchanan, 2012 WL 1987917, at *1 (explaining
that the first factor weighed in the plaintiff’s favor in a § 1983 case because “[m]urder does not
implicate truthfulness”); see also United States v. Galati, 230 F.3d 254, 261 n.5 (7th Cir. 2000)
(“A person’s past drug possession does not necessarily implicate dishonesty and this court has
rejected the argument that ‘people who have used drugs are more likely to tell lies.’” (quoting
United States v. Neely, 980 F.2d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 1992))). Thus, for those two crimes, the
first factor weighs in Patterson’s favor. With respect to the most recent crime—attempted
possession of a stolen vehicle—while it is “not a crime of dishonesty per se, . . . it is more
probative of dishonesty than other crimes, like murder or assault.” Barber v. City of Chicago,
725 F.3d 702, 715 (7th Cir. 2013); see also McGill ex rel. McGill v. Menard, Inc., No. 11 C
4950, 2013 WL 5253650, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 17, 2013); Cartwright v. City of Chicago, No. 09
CV 4298, 2013 WL 3984434, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 2, 2013); United States v. Evans, 09 CR 152,
2010 WL 2104171, at *4 (N.D. Ill. May 25, 2010). Accordingly, for the most recent crime, the
first factor weighs in Defendants’ favor.
The second factor weighs slightly in Patterson’s favor, as the most recent crime took
place five years before trial, the second most recent crime took place more than six years before
trial, and the oldest crime took place nearly ten years ago. (R. 87, at 14–16.) None of these is
particularly recent, but the convictions also are no older than the ten-year period that can trigger
The third factor weighs in Patterson’s favor with respect to his drug conviction. The
more similar a past crime is to a witness’s alleged criminal activity in the current case, the
greater the probability for unfair prejudice based on jurors making an unwarranted propensity
inference. See Jones, 2017 WL 413613, at *10 (citing United States v. Montgomery, 390 F.3d
1013, 1016 (7th Cir. 2004), and United States v. Hernandez, 106 F.3d 737, 740 (7th Cir. 1997)).
Here, Defendants will argue that Hefel and Laurie witnessed Patterson “engage in a hand-tohand transaction that [they] believed to be a narcotics transaction.” (R. 97 at 4.) To introduce a
prior narcotics-related conviction creates a dangerous probability that the jury will improperly
conclude Patterson must have engaged in a drug transaction before the incident in question in
With respect to Patterson’s other two convictions, the third factor weighs in Defendants’
favor. See id. The other two convictions are not drug-related, and therefore do not raise the
same propensity-inference concern.
The final two factors weigh decidedly in Defendants’ favor. Patterson’s testimony is
critical to his case and his credibility is crucial to jurors weighing the strength of his testimony.
See United States v. Grant, 396 F.3d 906, 910 (7th Cir. 2005) (noting the importance of
credibility when one party-witness’s testimony contradictions the testimony of a witness
supporting the opposing party’s version of events).
Weighing the factors together, the Court concludes that Defendants may impeach
Patterson with evidence of the three convictions referenced above. For the older two crimes,
however, the Court concludes that “sanitization”—that is, barring Defendants from referencing
nature of the crimes—is appropriate given the potential unfair prejudice that can arise from a
jury learning that Patterson has a drug conviction and a weapons conviction and the limited
probative value of those two convictions, as the crimes are not especially indicative of
truthfulness. See Smith v. Nurse, No. 14-cv-5514, 2016 WL 4539698, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 31,
2016) (sanitizing the plaintiff’s criminal record and allowing Defendant to introduce only the
fact that the plaintiff is a convicted felon); Pierce v. Ruiz, No. 13 CV 6824, 2016 WL 5912890,
at *3 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 11, 2016). The Seventh Circuit has recognized that “evidence that a witness
has used illegal drugs may so prejudice the jury that it will excessively discount [his] testimony,”
Jones v. Walters, No. 12-cv-5283, 2016 WL 1756908, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 29, 2016) (quoting
Galati, 230 F.3d at 262), and a weapons conviction may imply violent behavior or inflame the
jury over its concern regarding dangerous weapons in the community (a particularly acute
concern in this district). Moreover, the drug conviction is similar to the criminal activity in
which Defendants allege Patterson engaged in this case, further increasing the risk of unfair
prejudice. The most recent crime, however, does not carry the same potential of inflaming the
jury’s passions. Thus, Defendants may disclose the crime of conviction.6
Patterson argues that the Court should limit the number of convictions Defendants may
introduce. Having already engaged in the relevant analysis under Rules 609 and 403, the Court
declines to limit the number of convictions Defendants may introduce simply because there are
multiple convictions. The Court has rejected this “piling on” argument in the past. See Hill,
2011 WL 2637214, at *2. Indeed, because the logic behind Rule 609 is “that a person who has
flouted society’s most fundamental norms, as embodied in its felony statutes, is less likely than
other members of society to be deterred from lying under oath in a trial by the solemnity of the
oath, the (miniscule) danger of prosecution for perjury, or internalized ethical norms against
lying,” Cartwright, 2013 WL 3984434, at *1 (quoting Campbell v. Greer, 831 F.2d 700, 707 (7th
Cir. 1987)), it is quite relevant under the rule’s rationale that Patterson has “flouted
society’s . . . norms” three times in the past ten years rather than one.7
In sum, the Court grants in large part Defendants’ motion under Rule 609. Defendants
may use evidence of the three prior convictions to impeach Patterson. Defendants may not,
however, refer to the crimes of conviction for the two oldest convictions. Otherwise, they may
submit evidence of the crimes charged (for the most recent crime), the date, and the disposition.
See Hill, 2011 WL 2637214, at *2; see also Pierce, 2016 WL 5912890, at *3.
The Court notes that this ruling is subject to change if Defendants suggest that Patterson was engaged in some sort
of theft crime near the time of the incident in question.
Defendants also wish to introduce evidence of the three convictions as substantive evidence under Rule 404(b)
because they supposedly “explain Plaintiff’s motivation for fleeing from Defendant Officers.” (R. 86 at 13.) The
Court does not understand Defendants’ logic based on its bare submissions. Accordingly, the Court denies
Defendants’ motion without prejudice to the extent it deals with Rule 404(b).
Motion in Limine #11: Barring Patterson from Requesting that Defendants
Produce Information and Documents in the Jury’s Presence or from
Implying that Defendants Have Not Complied with Any Discovery Requests
In response to this motion in limine, Patterson represents that he “does not anticipate
making such [a] request or argument,” and, should the need to do so arise, Patterson agrees to
raise the issue outside the presence of the jury. (R. 98 at 9.) As there is currently no dispute, the
Court grants Defendants’ motion.
Motion in Limine #12: Barring Jamal Johnson, April Tucker, Randy
Abraham, and Jeremy Wilson from Testifying
Defendants seek to bar Patterson from calling the above-listed witnesses at trial because,
although Patterson listed each of these witnesses on his Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26
disclosures, Defendants were unable to contact any of the witnesses. For Jamal Johnson,
Patterson disclosed him “as being able to be contacted through [Patterson].” Defendants say
they could not contact Johnson for a deposition. For April Tucker, Patterson provided a phone
number for her. Defendants complain that they were unable to contact her or find an address for
her, and Patterson did not provide any updated information for her. For Randy Abraham,
Patterson provided a phone number and P.O Box. Defendants represent that they could not
contact him based on this information and Patterson did not provide additional contact
information after Defendants explained their unsuccessful attempts to contact Abraham. Finally,
for Jeremy Wilson, Patterson provided a phone number and date Wilson would be present for his
deposition. Wilson did not appear for the deposition and Defendants were unable to contact him.
The Court requires more information before resolving Defendants’ motion with respect to
Tucker and Abraham. The parties should be prepared to address this portion of the motion at the
final pre-trial conference. In particular, the parties should be prepared to specify what efforts
they have made to contact these two witnesses. With respect to Wilson and Johnson, the Court
grants Defendants’ motion. Patterson does not dispute that he represented that Defendants could
contact Johnson through Patterson, and Patterson provided a date Wilson would appear for a
deposition. Wilson failed to show for his deposition as confirmed by Patterson. In addition,
Patterson does not dispute that he failed to contact Johnson for Defendants. Furthermore, the
Court notes that if Patterson plans on calling these witnesses, presumably he has accurate contact
information and could have made the witnesses available to Defendants.
Patterson’s Motions in Limine
Motion in Limine #12: Barring Evidence or Argument of an Apology
Patterson seeks to bar Defendants from apologizing for Patterson’s injury without
admitting liability. Defendants represent that they do not anticipate making any apologies on the
witness stand. They argue, however, that the Court should not grant this motion at this time
because “curtail[ing] a party from framing its presentation of the case down to the level of
expressions of any feelings of empathy is overly rigid and the motion should therefore be
denied.” (R. 97 at 1.) The Court agrees with Defendants. Without knowing the context in
which Defendants could potentially express empathy toward Patterson, the Court cannot make a
reasoned decision. Accordingly, the Court denies this motion without prejudice.
Motion in Limine #13: Barring References or Evidence of Patterson’s Prior
Arrests, Criminal Involvement, Convictions, and Incarcerations
Defendants seek to bar any evidence of or references to the following: (1) convictions
that occurred before 2007 where the period of incarceration also ended before 2007, (2) any
arrests that did not lead to convictions, (3) arrests or convictions related to drugs, and (4) the
three convictions discussed above with respect to Defendants’ motion in limine number 10.
Defendants seek only to reference or introduce evidence of the three convictions discussed in
their motion in limine number 10. Accordingly, the Court grants Patterson’s motion without
objection to these uncontested areas. As to contested matters, the Court’s ruling with respect to
Defendants’ motion in limine number 10 controls. Patterson’s motion is therefore granted in part
and denied in part.
Motion in Limine #14: Barring Allegations of Drug/Alcohol Use by Patterson
or Any Other Witness
Patterson, citing relevance, Rule 403 and Rule 404, seeks to exclude any evidence,
testimony, or argument regarding “[p]re-occurrence and/or post-occurrence” allegations or
convictions relating to drug or alcohol use by Patterson, any of Patterson’s witnesses, or any of
Patterson’s relatives and acquaintances. (R. 87 at 16.) Defendants argue that it is critical to their
defense to “testify that they observed Plaintiff engage in a hand-to-hand transaction the
Defendants believed to be a narcotics transaction.” (R. 97 at 3-4.) The Court agrees with
Defendants. Defendants’ observations of Patterson and the incident in question are central to
their defense in this case. Defendants also argue that they “will testify as to why they were
searching for narcotics along the route Plaintiff used to flee from them.” (Id. at 4.) Because the
relevance of this evidence is unclear, the Court will address it at the final pretrial conference.
Finally, Defendants contend that they should be able to elicit testimony about “allegations of use
or possession pertaining to Plaintiff’s witnesses . . . relating to any drug or alcohol use or
possession on the day in question.” (Id.) The Court agrees. If any witnesses used any drugs or
consumed any alcohol near the time of the events in question, Defendants are free to crossexamine on this topic because it is directly relevant to the witness’s ability to testify about the
Defendants do not appear to challenge Patterson’s motion with respect to allegations of
drug and alcohol use unrelated to the incident in question. The Court therefore grants Patterson’s
motion to the extent of the parties’ agreement.8
Motion in Limine #15: Barring Evidence of Collateral Payments of Medical
Patterson seeks to bar Defendant from referring to insurance payments or other collateral
source of payments for Patterson’s medical bills. Defendants “agree that the source of payments
for Plaintiff’s medical expenses is generally inadmissible under the collateral source rule.” (R.
97 at 4.) Defendants argue, however, that Patterson cannot “claim expenses beyond what [he]
actually paid to satisfy [his] medical expenses.” (Id.) Patterson has made no indication that he
will attempt to claim damages for the full listed price of medical bills even when insurance
covered a portion of the cost. In the event Patterson attempts to do this, Defendants should raise
the issue with the Court outside the jury’s presence. Accordingly, the Court grants Patterson’s
motion, subject to the evidence of damages he presents.
Motion in Limine #16: Introducing Evidence of Indemnification if
Defendants Introduce Evidence of Their Financial Position
Patterson seeks to introduce evidence of the City’s indemnification of the individual
defendants if the individual defendants introduce evidence or make arguments regarding their
personal financial situation. Defendants concede that Patterson “is generally correct that courts
have held that if a defendant seeks to argue that [his] financial condition makes [him] unable to
pay punitive damages that it may open the door to discuss indemnification.” (R. 97 at 5.)
Defendants contend, however, that if Defendants offer evidence of their financial damages, “it
would suffice to have a limiting instruction that jurors may only consider Defendants’ financial
With respect to Patterson’s drug conviction discussed above, the Court’s ruling on Defendants’ motion in limine
number 10 controls.
condition in connection with [their] ability to pay punitive damages.” The common practice of
courts in this district is that evidence of indemnification is inadmissible unless the defendant
opens the door by injecting his personal financial circumstances into the case. See, e.g., Holmes
v. City of Chicago, No. 09-cv-2481, 2016 WL 6442117, at *12 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 1, 2016);
Gonzalez v. Olson, No. 11 C 8356, 2015 WL 3671641, at *7 (N.D. June 12, 2015); Betts v. City
of Chicago, 784 F. Supp. 2d 1020, 1030-31 (N.D. Ill. 2011). The Court agrees with this practice.
In the event the parties introduce evidence of financial condition and indemnification, they may
request appropriate limiting instructions.
Motion in Limine # 17: Barring Argument of the Purported “Financial
Gain” Motive for Litigation
Patterson seeks to bar Defendants from arguing something to the effect of “all the
plaintiff wants is money.” He cites no authority in support of his argument. Defendants may
argue that Patterson is lying because there is a pecuniary motivation to do so. See LugoVillalobos v. City of Chicago, No. 13-cv-5716, Dkt. 61 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 30, 2015) (concluding that
Defendants “may argue that financial gain is a possible motivation for [the plaintiff’s] suit”);
Smith v. Altman, No. 12-cv-4546, Dkt. No. 142 at 3–4 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 24, 2014) (denying a
similar motion because motions in limine generally relate to evidence rather than argument and a
financial motive is relevant to bias and a motive to lie); Viramontes v. City of Chicago, No. 13 C
6251, Dkt. No. 68 at 2 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 12, 2014) (denying a similar motion “because arguing bias
is always permissible”). Any cross examination or argument along these lines goes directly to
Patterson’s motive and is proper. Furthermore, it is hardly controversial that plaintiffs may have
a financial motivation to file a lawsuit and that this motivation could cause them to lie.
Patterson further argues that if Defendants are allowed to argue that “Plaintiff’s
underlying motivation for bringing this civil lawsuit is to obtain money, then Plaintiff should be
allowed to further establish that the underlying motivations for the Defendants is to lie on the
stand so as to prevent further investigation into their actions.” Once again, Patterson cites no
authority. Patterson—and Defendants—may cross-examine witnesses regarding their bias and
motivation to lie. Patterson may also make arguments to the jury based on that crossexamination. He may not, however, introduce evidence of unrelated collateral matters—such as
United States v. Burge, as Patterson requests—because such evidence is irrelevant, unduly
prejudicial, distracting to the jury, and would result in unwarranted time-waste.
Accordingly, Patterson’s motion is denied.
Motion in Limine #18: Barring Testimony and Argument that the
Neighborhood Where the Incident Occurred is a “High Crime Area”
Patterson seeks to bar Defendants and their witnesses from “referring to the
neighborhood where the incident in question occurred as a ‘high crime area,’ ‘drug area,’ ‘gang
area, or other similar irrelevant and prejudicial characterizations of the area.” (R. 87 at 23.)
Presence in a high-crime area can constitute a relevant factor supporting probable cause under
the governing totality-of-the-circumstances test. See Huff v. Reichert, 744 F.3d 999, 1008 (7th
Cir. 2014); Whitehead v. Bond, 680 F.3d 919, 931–32 (7th Cir. 2012); United States v. Brown,
188 F.3d 860, 865 (7th Cir. 1999) (discussing the similar, though less-demanding standard for
reasonable suspicion for a Terry stop); Betts v. City of Chicago, 784 F. Supp. 2d 1020, 1023–24
(N.D. Ill. 2011). “For the high-crime-area factor to carry weight in a probable cause
determination,” however, “there should be ‘a reasonable connection between the neighborhood’s
higher crime rate and the facts relied upon to support probable cause.’” Huff, 744 F.3d at 1007–
08 (quoting Whitehead, 680 F.3d at 932). Given that presence in a “high-crime area” can
support probable cause, courts—including this one—have permitted defendants in § 1983 cases
to elicit testimony regarding whether a particular area was known as a high-crime area. See, e.g.,
Daniels v. City of Chicago, No. 08-cv-6832, Dkt. No. 203 at 2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 10, 2013); Ratliff,
2012 WL 5845551, at *7; Betts, 784 F. Supp. 2d at 1023–24; Bruce, 2011 WL 3471074, at *11;
Anderson v. City of Chicago, No. 09-cv-2311, Dkt. No. 117 at 2–3 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 09, 2011).
Defendants, however, must take care to “lay a proper foundation to testify about [their
observation that the area in which they encountered Patterson], such as their personal experience
of working or patrolling the area in question.” Daniels, Dkt. No. 203 at 2 (citing Whitehead, 680
F.3d at 932). Additionally, to limit the risk of unfair prejudice, Defendants must not belabor
their point and should avoid “resorting to sweeping generalizations.” Ratliff, 2012 WL 5845551,
at *7. As Judge Dow helpfully explained, Defendants should not use potentially prejudicial
terminology like “‘high crime area’ to describe the location where Plaintiff was arrested, but may
describe why they were in the area (e.g., to investigate narcotics activity) to the extent that the
evidence supports this testimony.” Id.
Patterson’s motion is therefore granted in part and denied in part.
Motion in Limine #19: Barring Witness Officers from Wearing Uniforms
Defendants agree that no police or firemen witnesses will wear medals at trial. (R. 97 at
9.) They object, however, to Patterson’s motion to bar witnesses from wearing uniforms. The
Court agrees with Defendants. Courts have permitted police officers to wear their uniforms in
the past, and the Court is hesitant to force officers to change clothes when they are on duty the
day of the trial. See Wilbon, 2016 WL 890671, at *9; Altman v. Helgessen, No. 10 C 5619, Dkt.
No. at 2 (N.D. Ill. May 28, 2014); Case v. Town of Cicero, No. 10 C 7392, 2013 WL 5645780, at
* 4 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 16, 2013); Tolliver v. Gonzalez, No. 10 C 1879, 2011 WL 5169428, at *1
(N.D. Ill. Oct. 31, 2011). The Court further notes that it will hardly be a secret that police-officer
witnesses are police officers. A standard uniform without medals will not prejudice Patterson.
Patterson’s motion is granted to the extent of the parties’ agreement. Otherwise, the Court
denies the motion.
Motion in Limine #20: Barring Defense Counsel from In-Court
Patterson seeks to bar defense counsel from “staging in-court demonstrations in which a
defense attorney performs roles, particularly with one or more of the Defendants as his/her
fellow player.” The Court denies this motion without prejudice. The Court trusts that the parties
will conduct themselves in a professional manner, and it will address any objections regarding
“demonstrations” during the course of the trial.
Motion in Limine #21: Barring Evidence, Argument, or Insinuation that
Patterson Has a Burden to Prove Motive and to Preclude Evidence or
Argument Regarding Defendant Officers’ Intent or Motive
Patterson argues that the Court should preclude Defendants from arguing that “Plaintiff
cannot prove what motive Defendants would have had to hit Plaintiff with a vehicle and/or
otherwise batter Plaintiff.” (R. 87 at 27.) Patterson goes on to argue that “Defendants should be
precluded and/or barred from making the argument or procuring testimony regarding the
Defendant Officers motive or intent in their actions towards Plaintiff,” and that “[n]either motive
nor intent are elements in Plaintiff’s excessive force or failure to intervene claims.” (Id. at 28.)
The Court denies Patterson’s motion. While Defendants cannot argue that Patterson must
prove motive as an element of a tort where it is not an element, motive is relevant in this case.
To prove his battery claim, for example, Patterson must show at least one defendant acted
“intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with [Patterson],” and also that the harmful
contact “directly or indirectly result[ed].” Colyer v. City of Chicago, No. 12 C 4855, 2014 WL
8796112 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 8, 2014) (citing Flores v. Santiago, 986 N.E.2d 1216, 1219 (App. Ct. Ill.
2013)). Motive is relevant to the question of whether Defendant acted with the requisite intent to
cause a harmful or offensive contact. Moreover, it is relevant to whether any contact occurred at
all. In addition, Defendants’ motives are also relevant to punitive damages. In a § 1983 case, a
jury may award punitive damages “when the defendant’s conduct is shown to be motivated by
evil motive or intent, or when it involves reckless or callous indifference to the federally
protected rights of others.” Case, 2013 WL 5645780, at *5 (quoting Smith v. Wade, 461 U.S. 30,
56 (1983)). Patterson’s motion is denied.
Motion in Limine #23: Barring Evidence, Argument, or Insinuation that
Defendants Had Legal Justification to Use Force Against Plaintiff
Patterson seeks to bar Defendants from suggesting that they used legally justified force
against him. (R. 87 at 29.) Patterson further contends that Defendants have not proffered any
evidence that they had a legal justification to use force against him. (Id.) Defendants argue that
the Court should deny Patterson’s motion because it is overly broad. Defendants represent that
their depositions show that they used “some type of contact or ‘force,’” like helping Patterson off
the ground, performing a pat-down, and placing Patterson in a police vehicle. (R. 97 at 14–15.)
The Court agrees with Defendants that Patterson’s motion is overbroad. Defendants should be
able to testify regarding the events that transpired. Patterson is free to object as needed.
Motion in Limine #24: Barring Evidence Regarding Witnesses’ Criminal
Patterson represents that Defendants failed to tender any criminal histories for any person
disclosed in the parties’ Rule 26(a) disclosures other than Patterson. Because of this, Patterson
contends the Court should preclude Defendants under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 from
offering evidence or eliciting testimony regarding the criminal histories of any witnesses called
at trial (other than, presumably, Patterson). (Id.) Defendants believe one witness named Tina
McBride may have a conviction for aggravated battery to a peace officer. (R. 97 at 15.)
Defendants contend that they cannot determine if McBride has a conviction because “the
conviction contains a different spelling and requires further investigation. (Id.) The Court
denies Patterson’s motion without prejudice, but Defendants should be prepared to explain at the
final pretrial conference what efforts they have taken to determine if McBride has a criminal
conviction and the relevant details of that conviction.
Defendants also note that the witnesses discussed in Defendants’ motion in limine
number 12 (Johnson, Tucker, Abraham, and Wilson) may have convictions but Defendants have
been unable to depose them or obtain the necessary information to determine if they have
criminal records. Defendants therefore ask that the Court deny Patterson’s motion with respect
to these witnesses. The Court agrees, and will deny the motion with respect to these witnesses
For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part the parties’ motions
DATED: February 28, 2017
AMY J. ST. EVE
U.S. District Court Judge
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