Thompson v. Hamp et al
ORDER denying 74 Motion in Limine; granting 75 Motion in Limine; granting 76 Motion in Limine; denying 77 Motion in Limine; granting 78 Motion in Limine; denying 79 Motion in Limine; denying 80 Motion in Limine; denying 81 Motion in Limine; granting 82 Motion in Limine. Signed by Senior Judge Neal B. Biggers on 4/18/2017. (llw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:14-CV-00274-NBB-RP
CALVIN HAMP, in his Individual Capacity,
JAMES JONES, in his Individual Capacity, and
UNKNOWN DEFENDANTS “A,” “B,” and “C”
Presently before the court are several motions in limine filed by the parties in the aboveentitled action. Upon due consideration of the motions, responses, and applicable authority, the
court is ready to rule.
Standard for Motion in Limine
“The purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the trial court to rule in advance of trial on
the admissibility and relevance of certain forecasted evidence,” but “[e]vidence should not be
excluded in limine unless it is clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds.” Harkness v.
Bauhaus U.S.A., Inc., 2015 WL 631512, at *1 (N.D. Miss. Feb. 13, 2015). But, where a motion
in limine has been denied, that “does not necessarily mean that all evidence contemplated by the
motion will be admitted at trial.” Gonzalez v. City of Three Rivers, 2013 WL 1150003, at *1
(S.D. Tex. Feb. 8, 2013). Rather, “[d]enial merely means that without the context of trial, the
court is unable to determine whether the evidence in question should be excluded.” Id. To that
end, “an order denying a motion does not relieve a party from making an objection at trial,”
because “the [c]ourt’s ruling on a motion in limine is not a definitive ruling on the admissibility
of evidence.” Cassidian Communications, Inc. v. Microdata GIS, Inc., 2013 WL 11322510, at
*1 (E.D. Tex. Dec. 3, 2013).
Defendants’ Motions in Limine
The Defendants have put forth six motions in limine for the court to consider. Each will
be considered in turn.
1. Defendants’ first motion in limine is to exclude plaintiff’s evidence of lost income
pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 401-403, and 802. Additionally, the defendants claim any
evidence of lost income put forth by the plaintiff is irrelevant because the lost income derives
from a job plaintiff was not able to secure two years after the incident in question. Defendants
also claim plaintiff did not provide income tax records as requested in discovery. The court finds
that a ruling on this issue should be reserved for trial and addressed if or when it arises. Thus,
this motion will be denied at this time and carried forward to trial.
2. Defendants’ second motion in limine is to exclude any news media references offered as
evidence by the plaintiff pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 403 and 802. The court finds
this argument persuasive as news media qualifies as hearsay, and the probative value of the
evidence is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. This motion will, therefore, be
granted, and any evidence of news media coverage referencing this matter is barred.
3. The third motion in limine seeks to bar the plaintiff from introducing evidence of rising
blood pressure associated with this incident based on Federal Rules of Evidence 403, 701-703,
and 802. The court finds this argument persuasive; therefore, this motion will be granted.
4. Defendant Hamp’s fourth motion in limine seeks to bar the plaintiff from alluding to
Defendant Hamp’s official capacity as sheriff so as to prevent introducing an impermissible
“respondeat superior” argument. The court finds that this matter should be reserved for trial.
Thus, this motion will be denied at this time and carried forward to trial.
5. Defendants’ fifth motion in limine seeks to exclude testimony in accordance with this
court’s February 17, 2017 order and opinion ruling on the defendants’ motion for summary
judgment. The defendants move the court to bar the plaintiff from introducing evidence of
claims which the court dismissed in said order and opinion, specifically evidence of a conspiracy
to arrest the plaintiff, testimony supporting the previously dismissed First Amendment claim, and
the plaintiff’s state law claims. The court finds that this evidence should be excluded; thus, the
defendants’ motion will be granted.
6. The defendants’ final motion in limine seeks to exclude entrapment arguments which the
defendants anticipate will be made by the plaintiff. Defendants argue that entrapment is derived
from statutory grounds, not constitutional grounds; thus, entrapment cannot form the basis of a
civil constitutional claim. Stokes v. Gann, 498 F.3d 483, 484 (5th Cir. Miss. 2007). Defendants
also argue that Federal Rules of Evidence 402, 403, and 701 exclude the entrapment argument.
The court finds that this matter should be carried forward to trial; thus, it will be denied at this
Plaintiff’s Motions in Limine
The plaintiff has put forth three motions in limine for the court’s consideration. Each of
those will be addressed in turn.
1. Plaintiff’s first motion in limine seeks to exclude testimony and argument that
defendants’ arrest of plaintiff was lawful. Specifically, the plaintiff argues that Federal Rules of
Evidence 401, 402, and 403, as well as the doctrine of collateral estoppel, bar the defendants
from attempting to re-litigate the matter of the lawfulness of the subject arrest since it has been
fully litigated ending in a final judgment from appeal in the Circuit Court of Tunica County. The
plaintiff asserts that the circuit court’s order amounts to a finding of entrapment and unlawful
arrest. The defendants argue that the order simply dismissed the plaintiff’s charges with no
official determination of these issues. The court reserves judgment on this motion at this time as
it has ordered further briefing for clarification as to whether this court should take judicial notice
of the November 10, 2014 judgment of the circuit court and if so, to what extent. The motion
will be denied at this time and carried forward.
2. Plaintiff’s second motion in limine seeks to exclude testimony and argument regarding
the defendants’ arrest of non-party Alvin Harris. Plaintiff argues Harris’ arrest should be
excluded pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 401-403. Alvin Harris was also an employee of
Tunica County and was subsequently arrested as a result of the routine county employees’
drivers’ licenses check. But, there was a valid arrest warrant for Harris, whereas no such warrant
for plaintiff existed. Plaintiff also contends that he is not trying to prevent the defendants from
claiming they checked his license pursuant to policy. The court finds that this matter should be
reserved for trial. The motion will therefore be denied and carried forward.
3. Plaintiff’s final motion in limine seeks to exclude testimony, evidence, and argument
regarding conversations between plaintiff and attorney Ellis Pittman. Ellis Pittman, now
deceased, served as the County Board Attorney for Tunica County. After his arrest, plaintiff
contacted Pittman, who visited plaintiff in jail. Plaintiff seeks to exclude any evidence or
recordings regarding the communications between Pittman and plaintiff. Plaintiff argues Federal
Rules of Evidence 401-403, 801-802, as well as attorney-client privilege bar this evidence. The
court finds this argument persuasive; therefore, this motion will be granted.
Based on the foregoing discussion, the court finds the motions in limine should be
granted in part and denied in part. Defendants’ motions seeking to exclude news media
references , testimony of rising blood pressure , and testimony regarding claims previously
dismissed by the court  are hereby GRANTED. Plaintiff’s motion to exclude testimony,
evidence and argument regarding conversations between plaintiff and Attorney Ellis Pittman 
are hereby GRANTED. All remaining motions shall be reserved for trial.
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED this, the 18th day of April, 2017.
/s/ Neal Biggers
NEAL B. BIGGERS, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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