McConathy et al v. Wal-Mart Louisiana L L C et al
MEMORANDUM RULING re 41 MOTION in Limine filed by Eddie McConathy, Leona McConathy. Signed by Judge Terry A Doughty on 9/21/2018. (crt,Crawford, A)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
LEONA MCCONATHY, ET AL.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-0622
JUDGE TERRY A. DOUGHTY
WAL-MART LOUISIANA, LLC, ET AL.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE HAYES
This is a merchants’ liability case in which Plaintiffs Leona and Eddie McConathy allege
that Mrs. McConathy was injured when she fell after tripping over a water hose at the Wal-Mart
store in Jonesboro, Louisiana. Plaintiffs brought suit against Defendants Wal-Mart Louisiana,
LLC, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion in Limine [Doc. No. 41] in which they
move to exclude three categories of evidence. Defendants responded to the motion. [Doc. No.
43]. For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
COLLATERAL SOURCE EVIDENCE
First, Plaintiffs move to exclude from evidence any reference to the payment of Mrs.
McConathy’s medical expenses by collateral sources by Medicare, private health insurance, or
others.1 Defendants have responded that they do not intend to offer this type of evidence. The
parties have agreed to stipulate that any judgment Plaintiffs obtain is subject to a lien or liens by
See Bozeman v. State, 879 So.2d 692, 697 (La.2004) (noting that the common law
collateral source rule has its source in the Restatement (Second) of Torts and that it has been
embraced by Louisiana courts).
Medicare, Medicaid, and/or insurers. The parties further agree that the stipulation need not be
read to the jury.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ Motion in Limine is GRANTED in this regard, and any
testimony and/or evidence related to collateral source payments is EXCLUDED from trial.
PRIOR, UNRELATED INJURIES
Second, pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 401, 402, and 403, Plaintiffs move to
exclude any evidence of Mrs. McConathy’s “prior, unrelated injuries,” including her life-long
chronic kidney condition which has resulted in multiple surgeries and her surgeries for hip pain
and hip replacements. They argue that these conditions, surgeries, and injuries are unrelated to
the accident at issue in this case, and, thus, are irrelevant. Alternatively, even if there is some
degree of relevance, Plaintiffs argue that the relevance would be greatly outweighed by unfair
prejudice to their case and confusion to the jury. Plaintiffs do not seek to exclude evidence of
Mrs. McConathy’s surgeries, treatments, and/or injuries to her back and rotator cuff.
Defendants respond that Plaintiffs’ motion is premature and overly broad. Defendants
contend that evidence of Mrs. McConathy’s medical condition is relevant to Plaintiffs’ claims for
general damages and to Mr. McConathy’s loss of consortium claim. They point out that, in part,
Mrs. McConathy will claim that she is now limited in her ability to care for Mr. McConathy,
who is disabled.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 401, to be admissible, evidence must be “relevant.”
“Evidence is relevant if: (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it
would be without the evidence; and (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action.”
“Relevant evidence is admissible” unless the United States Constitution, a federal statute, the
Federal Rules of Evidence, or other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court provide otherwise.
FED. R. EVID. 402. However,
The court 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.
At this time, Plaintiffs’ Motion in Limine to exclude evidence of her prior kidney
condition and related treatments and her prior hip condition and related treatment is DENIED.
The Court agrees with Defendants that such evidence is admissible for the purposes of
establishing her general health condition prior to the accident at Wal-Mart and to her spouse’s
consortium losses. To the extent that Defendants attempt to offer evidence outside of these
purposes, such as to show that she is a chronic personal injury claimant, Plaintiffs may re-urge
their objection at trial.
PRIOR LAWSUITS AND CLAIMS
Finally, Plaintiffs move to exclude from evidence Mrs. McConathy’s prior lawsuit as a
result of an accident at Lone Star Steakhouse and a prior medical malpractice claim arising out of
a hip surgery. Defendants have responded that they do not intend to offer evidence of prior
lawsuits or claims, “assuming that plaintiffs stipulate that her hip injury was not fact caused by
accident at issue in this suit.” [Doc. No. 43, p. 4].
The Court finds that Mrs. McConathy’s prior lawsuits and claims are irrelevant and
should be excluded from evidence. Plaintiffs are clear in their Motion in Limine that they do not
contend that Mrs. McConathy suffered a hip injury as a result of the fall at Wal-Mart, and, thus,
her malpractice claim is irrelevant. Therefore, Plaintiffs’ Motion in Limine is GRANTED, and
evidence of Mrs. McConathy’s prior lawsuit against Lone Star Steakhouse and her prior medical
malpractice claim regarding her hip surgeries are EXCLUDED from evidence.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs’ Motion in Limine [Doc. No. 41] is GRANTED IN
PART and DENIED IN PART. To the extent that Plaintiffs move to exclude evidence of
collateral source payments, the motion is GRANTED, and this evidence is EXCLUDED. To the
extent that Plaintiffs move to exclude evidence of prior lawsuits and claims, the motion is
GRANTED, and evidence regarding Mrs. McConathy’s prior lawsuit against Lone Star
Steakhouse and her prior medical malpractice claim related to her hip surgeries are EXCLUDED
from evidence. Finally, to the extent that Plaintiffs move to exclude evidence of Mrs.
McConathy’s prior injuries, the motion is DENIED, subject to Plaintiffs’ right to object at trial.
MONROE, LOUISIANA, this 21st day of September, 2018.
TERRY A. DOUGHTY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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