The Estate of Betty Sue Dunn Gray, et al v. Dalton et al
ORDER on Motions 119 , 121 , 123 , 125 , 126 , 127 , 128 , 132 , 133 , 134 , 163 , 165 , 167 , 169 , 171 , 173 , 175 . Signed by District Judge Sharion Aycock on 3/31/2017. (dbm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
THE ESTATE OF BETTY SUE DUNN GRAY,
Wilburn Gray, as Administrator of the Estate of
Betty Sue Dunn Gray; WILBURN GRAY, individually
and on behalf of all Wrongful death beneficiaries of
Betty Sue Dunn Gray; RONNIE BROWN,
individually and on behalf of all Wrongful
death beneficiaries of Betty Sue Dunn Gray;
WILLIAM BROWN, individually and on behalf
of all Wrongful death beneficiaries of
Betty Sue Dunn Gray
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:15-CV-61-SA-DAS
SCOTT DALTON, individually and in his
official capacity as officer for the Alcorn County
Sheriff’s Department; CHARLES RINEHART,
in his official capacity as Sheriff of Alcorn County,
Mississippi and as supervisor of Scott Dalton;
ALCORN COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, a political
subdivision of the State of Mississippi
ORDER ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE
Both parties filed numerous motions in limine seeking to strike and exclude various
testimony, expert witnesses, and other evidences. The Court notes that pursuant to the Parties’
proposed pre-trial order this case is now set for a bench trial. The Fifth Circuit has explained that
“the importance of the trial court’s gatekeeper role is significantly diminished in bench trials . . .
because, there being no jury, there is no risk of tainting the trial by exposing a jury to unreliable
evidence.” Whitehouse Hotel Ltd. P’ship v. C.I.R., 615 F.3d 321, 330 (5th Cir. 2010) (citing
Gibbs v. Gibbs, 210 F.3d 491, 500 (5th Cir. 2000)). Because of the diminished gatekeeper role,
and because a number of the pending motions in limine require further development and
argument better heard in the course of trial, the Court denies the following motions in limine
without prejudice: Motion in Limine to Exclude Illegally Obtained Evidence ; Motion in
Limine to Exclude Evidence of Collateral Source Payments ; Motion in Limine regarding
Statement Contained in the Death Certificate ; Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence
Handgun Photo ; Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Purported Facebook Post ;
Motion in Limine to Exclude Photographs of the Decedent ; Motion in Limine to Exclude
Evidence of Other Past or Pending Civil or Criminal Proceedings against Sheriff Charles
Rinehart or any other current or former Alcorn County Employee or Official ; Motion in
Limine to Exclude Evidence of Alleged Tampering of Dash Cam Footage . Depending on
the case ultimately presented at trial, the Parties may re-urge these motions at the appropriate
time during trial.
The Parties also presented a number of motions in limine requesting exclusion or
limitation of expert witness testimony. In a bench trial, the Court functions as both factfinder and
gatekeeper. Nevertheless, the district court must “ensure that any and all scientific testimony or
evidence admitted is not only relevant, but reliable.” Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509
U.S. 579, 589, 113 S. Ct. 2786, 2795, 125 L. Ed. 2d 469 (1993). A number of the issues
presented in these motions require consideration under Daubert, testimony, and a further review
of evidence before the Court can make a determination on admissibility. For this reason, the
Court holds the following motions in abeyance until trial: Motion to Strike James Griffin ;
Motion to Strike J. Elbert Bivens ; Motion to Strike Phillip L. Davidson ; Motion to
Strike Testimony of John Cross ; Motion to Strike Testimony of Bill Brister ; Motion
to Strike Testimony of Bruce Brawner .
The Defendants withdrew their Motion in Limine to Exclude Irrelevant Medical
Expenses  in their Reply  rendering this Motion moot.
The remaining outstanding motions in limine are granted per the agreement of counsel:
Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Military Service ; Motion in Limine to Exclude
Evidence of Grand Jury Proceedings .
SO ORDERED, this the 31st day of March, 2017.
/s/ Sharion Aycock _______________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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