Leger v. Spiller et al
ORDER GRANTING Motion in Limine (Doc. 85 ); GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART Motion in Limine (Doc. 87 ); and GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART Motion in Limine (Doc. 89 ). Signed by Judge Staci M. Yandle on 11/9/17. (bps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
WILLIAM P. LEGER, JR.,
THOMAS A. SPILLER, et al.,
Case No. 3:15-CV-0080-SMY-RJD
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Pending before the Court are the motions in limine filed by Plaintiff (Doc. 89),
Defendant Karen Jamiet 1 (Doc. 85) and Defendant Vipin Shah (Doc. 87). The Court heard
argument from the parties and made the rulings below on the record during the final pretrial
conference on November 8, 2017.
The purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the trial court to rule on the relevance and
admissibility of evidence before it is offered at trial. See Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41,
n.4 (1984)(“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”). It serves to “aid the trial process by enabling the
court to rule in advance of trial on the relevance of certain forecasted evidence, as to issues
that are definitely set for trial, without lengthy argument at, or interruption of, the trial.”
Wilson v. Williams, 182 F.3d 562, 566 (7th Cir. 1999) (citing Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d 136,
141 (2nd Cir. 1996).
Defendant Jamiet is the current warden of Pinckneyville Correctional Center. She has been substituted in her
official capacity for Thomas Spiller, the former warden of Pinckneyville Correctional Center.
Motions in limine also may save the parties time, effort, and cost in preparing and
presenting their cases.
Pivot Point Intern., Inc. v. Charlene Products, Inc., 932 F. Supp.
220, 222 (N.D. Ill. 1996). Often, however, the better practice is to wait until trial to rule on
objections, particularly when admissibility substantially depends upon facts which may be
Jonasson v. Lutheran Child and Family Services, 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th
The movant has the burden of demonstrating that the evidence is inadmissible on any
relevant ground, “for any purpose.” Plair v. E.J. Brach & Sons, Inc., 864 F. Supp. 67, 69
(N.D. Ill. 1994).
The court may deny a motion in limine when it “lacks the necessary
specificity with respect to the evidence to be excluded.” Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. of
Pittsburgh v. L.E. Myers Co. Group, 937 F. Supp. 276, 287 (S.D.N.Y. 1996). Moreover,
the court may alter an in limine ruling based on developments at trial or sound judicial
discretion. Luce, 469 U.S. at 41. “Denial of a motion in limine does not necessarily mean that all
evidence contemplated by the motion will be admitted at trial.”
Hawthorne Partners v.
AT&T Tech., Inc., 831 F. Supp.1398, 1401 (N.D. Ill. 1993). Denial only means that the court
cannot decide admissibility outside the context of trial. Plair, 864 F. Supp. at 69.
A court may reserve judgment until trial, so that the motion in limine is placed “in an
appropriate factual context.” Nat'l Union, 937 F. Supp. at 287. Stated another way, motion
in limine rulings are “subject to change when the case unfolds” at trial. Luce, 469 U.S. at
41. Indeed, “even if nothing unexpected happens at trial, the district judge is free, in the exercise
of sound judicial discretion, to alter a previous in limine ruling.” Id. The Court should exclude
evidence on a motion in limine “only when the evidence is clearly inadmissible on all
potential grounds.” Jonasson, 115 F.3d at 440.
With these principles in mind, the Court rules as follows.
Plaintiffs’ Motion in Limine:
Plaintiff’s Motion in limine No. 1 – Plaintiff seeks to bar any reference to the existence or
filing of this motion, or to the fact that Plaintiff has sought to exclude evidence, or to any
ruling on the motion by the Court. Defendants do not object to this motion. The motion
is accordingly GRANTED.
Plaintiff’s Motion in limine No. 2—Plaintiff moves to bar any speculation or argument
about the substance of the testimony of any witness who is absent or unavailable, or
whom Plaintiff did not call to testify. The motion is GRANTED as to any argument
inviting the jury to draw an adverse inference from the absence of any particular witness
testimony or exhibit unless it is demonstrated that that exhibit or witness was not equally
available to the party making that argument.
Plaintiff’s Motion in limine No. 3—Plaintiff moves to bar any argument in closing
statement that Plaintiff has asked for a greater amount of money than Plaintiff actually
expects to be awarded. Defendants do not object to this motion. The motion is
Plaintiff’s Motion in limine No. 4—Plaintiff moves to bar any reference, introduction of
evidence or eliciting responses or arguments in closing statement that Plaintiff's damages
should be low or nominal because of his life sentence or incarceration with the Illinois
Department of Corrections. While arguments to rebut Plaintiff’s assertions that he has
been damaged due to an inability to engage in specific activities may be permissible, the
motion is GRANTED as to any argument or assertion that his damages are limited
specifically because of his life sentence.
Plaintiff’s Motion in limine No. 5—Plaintiff moves to bar any reference, introduction of
evidence, or eliciting responses regarding Plaintiff's conviction or the crime that caused
him to be an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Evidence of the fact that
Plaintiff has been convicted of a felony is probative as to his credibility as a witness
under FRE 609 and is therefore admissible for that purpose. However, the Court finds
that details as to the crime(s) for which Plaintiff was convicted and the length of his
sentence are more prejudicial than probative and are thus excludable under FRE 403.
The motion is therefore DENIED as to evidence or reference to the fact that Plaintiff has
been convicted of a felony.
Defendant Jaimet’s Motions in Limine:
Defendant Jaimet’s Motion in limine No. 1 – Defendant Jaimet moves to bar Plaintiff or
any non-expert witness from providing expert medical testimony regarding causation of
his injuries. The motion is GRANTED. However, Plaintiff may testify regarding his
symptoms, pain and functionality.
Defendant Jaimet’s Motion in limine No. 2 – Defendant Jaimet moves to bar any
testimony from Plaintiff or any other witness as to what a non-party medical provider
may have told them. The motion is GRANTED except as to statements recorded in
properly admitted medical records.
Defendant Jaimet’s Motion in limine No. 3 – Defendant Jaimet moves to bar any
evidence or testimony regarding a “golden rule” appeal. Plaintiff does not object to this
motion. The motion is accordingly GRANTED.
Defendant Shah’s Motions in Limine:
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 1 – Defendant Shah moves to bar any statement,
evidence, or testimony concerning whether he may have insurance in connection with
Plaintiff’s claim. Plaintiff does not object to this motion. The motion is accordingly
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 2 – Defendant Shah moves to bar any statement,
testimony, or argument about Defendants’ employer, Wexford Health Sources, Inc.,
being a for-profit corporation or a “big” corporation or company, or “evil” or a “bad”
company. The corporate status of Defendant’s employer is not relevant to the
proceedings. The motion is GRANTED.
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 3 – Defendant Shah moves to bar any evidence or
argument regarding settlement negotiations or any lack thereof in this case, or in any
other cases or matters. Plaintiff does not object to this motion. The motion is
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 4 – Defendant Shah moves to bar evidence
regarding any medical treatment provided to other inmates. The Court takes this motion
UNDER ADVISEMENT subject to an offer of proof at trial.
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 5 – Defendant Shah moves to bar Plaintiff from
testifying about statements made to him by non-party medical providers. Plaintiff has
withdrawn his objection. The motion is accordingly GRANTED subject to the same
exception for statements recorded in admitted medical records discussed in reference to
Defendant Jaimet’s Motion in limine No. 2.
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 6 – Defendant Shah moves to bar introduction of
any documents, testimony, or other evidence concerning allegations, investigations,
claims, discipline, lawsuits, lawsuit settlements, “other bad acts,” asserted against
Defendant Shah by any other person or entity, including, but not limited to, this Plaintiff,
any other inmate or patient. Such evidence is neither material nor relevant to the question
of Defendant Shah’s alleged deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s condition or for punitive
damage purposes. The motion is GRANTED.
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 7 – Defendant Shah moves to bar any offering of
medical or other technical literature to the jury. Plaintiff does not object to this motion.
The motion is accordingly GRANTED.
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 8 – Defendant Shah moves to bar any non-health
care provider from offering testimony requiring specialized knowledge, education, or
training on medical subjects. The motion as drafted is vague and is generally governed
by FRE 702. The motion is therefore DENIED.
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 9 – Defendant Shah moves to bar any evidence of
grievances, complaint, affidavits, letters, and other documents demonstrating Plaintiff’s
intent to commence this action and/or descriptions of the medical care at issue written by
Plaintiff. The relevance and admissibility of such evidence will depend on the
circumstances and purposes for which it is offered during trial. As such, the motion is
DENIED subject to appropriate objection during the course of trial.
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 10 – Defendant Shah moves to bar any testimony
by Plaintiff that an alleged delay or denial of treatment of Plaintiff’s left shoulder while
he was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center somehow injured the Plaintiff.
The motion is DENIED as overbroad and vague.
Defendant Shahs’ Motion in limine No. 11 – Defendant Shah moves to bar evidence of
any Illinois Department of Corrections or Pinckneyville Correctional Center Directives,
Policies or Protocols, as well as any Wexford Policies or Protocols regarding medical
treatment. Defendant Shah cites Thompson v. City of Chicago, 472 F.3d 444 (7th Cir.
2006) as grounds for such exclusion. Thompson is distinguishable, as in the instant case,
evidence that Defendant Shah disregarded or otherwise failed to follow established
treatment protocols or procedures is relevant to the issue of whether Dr. Shah was
deliberately indifferent in his treatment of Plaintiff. The motion is DENIED.
DATED: November 9, 2017
/s/ Staci M. Yandle _______
United States District Judge
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