Hood v. Hawker Beechcraft Corporation

Filing 91

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part 79 Motion in Limine; Granting in part and taking under advisement 81 Motion in Limine. SEE ORDER FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS. Signed by District Judge Monti L. Belot on 3/11/2011. (adw)

Download PDF
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS VIVIAN A. HOOD, Plaintiff, v. HAWKER BEECHCRAFT CORPORATION, Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CIVIL ACTION No. 09-1085-MLB MEMORANDUM AND ORDER This case comes before the court on the following motions: 1) Defendant's motion in limine (Doc. 79) and plaintiff's response (Doc. 85); 2) Plaintiff's motion in limine (Docs. 81) and defendant's response (Doc. 89); 3) Plaintiff's objections to defendant's final witness and exhibit disclosures (Doc. 80) and defendant's response (Doc. 87); and 4) Defendant's objections to plaintiff's deposition designations (Doc. 86) and plaintiff's response (Doc. 88). All parties seek to prohibit the admission of certain evidence at trial. To the extent it can with the information before it, the The court cautions the court will briefly rule on each motion. parties, however, that nothing in this Order will preclude the admissibility of the excluded evidence if it otherwise becomes relevant at trial. See Turley v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co., 944 F.2d 669, 673 (10th Cir. 1991) ("The better practice would seem to be that evidence of this nature . . . should await development of the trial itself."). By the same taken, nothing said herein should be constituted as a final ruling admitting evidence to which a valid objection is made at trial. Analysis A. Defendant's Motion in Limine (Doc. 79) Defendant presentation objects by to the Long, introduction defendant's of a power point of made Nita former Director Compensation and Benefits. The presentation describes the process Plaintiff used by defendant in granting and denying FMLA benefits. asserts that this is relevant because it shows that the process was not followed in her case and it explains defendant's practices. court agrees. Defendant's motion is overruled. The The other issues raised in defendant's motion are moot as plaintiff does not intend to raise those issues during trial. B. Plaintiff's Motion in Limine (Doc. 81) 1. Plaintiff's Job Performance Plaintiff's job performance is not relevant to the issues that the jury will decide. Plaintiff was not terminated for her job Plaintiff's motion is sustained. performance or lack thereof. 2. Plaintiff's Records Plaintiff's motion is sustained. The only records which are relevant to this case are plaintiff's attendance, her Step 1, 2, and 3 violations for attendance and her FMLA history. 3. Violations of the Rules of Conduct (ROC) violated the ROCs on six occasions during her Plaintiff employment with defendant. Plaintiff, however, was terminated in September 2007 for her violation of the attendance policies and not her violations of the ROC. Plaintiff's violation of ROC No. 3 in -2- March 2007 could be admissible and relevant as to plaintiff's credibility. However, the court finds that defendant's actions in reinstating plaintiff immediately after the violation shows that defendant did not find the violation serious enough to warrant termination. Moreover, introduction of the violation and the termination would be outweighed by potential jury confusion. Civ. P. 403. Fed. R. Further, defendant asserts that this evidence is relevant to its good faith defense as plaintiff is seeking liquidated damages.1 The court, however, will decide the issue of liquidated damages and will not submit an advisory question to the jury on that issue. Therefore, plaintiff's motion is sustained. 4. Last Chance Agreement Plaintiff's motion to exclude the introduction of the Last Chance Agreement is sustained. This agreement is not relevant to plaintiff's attendance issues or FMLA leave. 5. Plaintiff's Post-Termination Grievance The motion is sustained as to the post-termination grievance. 6. Plaintiff's Attendance Habits Evidence as to plaintiff's attendance record while employed by defendant is relevant. Evidence as to plaintiff's "habits," however, Defendant's proposed jury instructions include an instruction which states the "FMLA does not apply where the employee would have been terminated in any event for failing to comply with her employer's policies." (Doc. 90 at 15). This is a "same decision" defense instruction. Defendant, however, did not include a "same decision" defense in the pretrial order. (Doc. 35). Moreover, throughout the briefings defendant has never raised this defense. Therefore, the instruction will not be allowed and evidence pertaining to issues other than attendance and the FMLA leave will also not be admitted during trial. -31 is not relevant. Plaintiff's attendance record with other employers after her employment with defendant appears to be relevant only on the defense of failure to mitigate damages. submit a proposed instruction. C. Plaintiff's Objections to Defendant's Final Witness and Exhibits Defendant's witnesses may testify as to plaintiff's attendance, her FMLA leave, and plaintiff's reprimands for her absences. The parties are directed to Defendant's witnesses may not testify regarding plaintiff's job performance, her violations of the code of conduct and the last chance agreement. must decide. 1. Attendance Tracking Report Defendant must redact the These issues are not relevant to the questions the jury Plaintiff's motion is sustained. references to the ROC violations. 2. ROC Plaintiff's motion is sustained. 3. Collective Bargaining Agreement Plaintiff's motion is sustained. 4. Request for Discipline Plaintiff's motion is sustained. 5. Emails The court will rule on these documents at trial as the emails were not attached to the motion. 6. Last Chance Agreement Plaintiff's motion is sustained. 7. Post Termination Grievance motion is sustained. -4These documents are not Plaintiff's relevant to defendant's decision to terminate plaintiff which occurred on September 17, 2007. 8. Interrogatories and Responses to Requests for Production Plaintiff may object during trial to the admission of specific answers. time. D. Defendant's Objections to Plaintiff's Deposition Designations Defendant objects to the introduction of medical testimony concerning plaintiff's medical condition in 2010 and 2011. Plaintiff asserts that this testimony is relevant to damages and the issue of whether plaintiff had a serious medical condition. The court finds The court will not rule on each individual answer at this that this testimony is not relevant to the issue of serious medical condition because the jury must decide plaintiff's condition in 2007 not 2010. Plaintiff has provided no authority for the position that medical evidence occurring years after the termination would be admissible in deciding if an employee had a serious medical condition at the time of termination. Further, plaintiff asserts that this evidence is relevant on the issue of damages because of her lack of medical benefits while not employed by defendant. Because defendant has not addressed this issue, the court will reserve ruling on the admissibility of the evidence for the limited purpose of damages. Conclusion Defendant's motion in limine (Doc. 79) is denied in part and granted in part. Plaintiff's motion in limine (Docs. 81) is granted Plaintiff's objections to in part and taken under advisement. defendant's final witness and exhibit disclosures (Doc. 80) is granted -5- in part and denied in part. Defendant's objections to plaintiff's deposition designations (Doc. 86) is granted in part and taken under advisement. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated this 11th day of March 2011, at Wichita, Kansas. s/ Monti Belot Monti L. Belot UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -6-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?