Lee v. Dennison et al

Filing 132

ORDER Denying as premature 97 Motion in Limine. Signed by Judge Kent J. Dawson on 1/17/2023. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - TRW)

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Case 2:19-cv-01332-KJD-NJK Document 132 Filed 01/17/23 Page 1 of 2 1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 6 *** 7 ALEXIS LEE, 8 9 10 Plaintiff, ORDER v. DINO DENNISON, et al., 11 12 Case No. 2:19-cv-01332-KJD-NJK Defendants. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine No. 1 (#97) to preclude 13 Defendants from suggesting that there may be undisclosed medical records. Defendants filed a 14 response in opposition (#107). 15 I. Background 16 This action arises from a motor vehicle accident on September 9, 2017. Plaintiff Alexis 17 Lee (“Lee”) was driving an economy-sized Hyundai Sonata and Defendant Dino Dennison 18 (“Dennison”) was driving a semi-truck as an employee of Defendant Knight Transportation 19 (“Knight”) when the two vehicles collided. While Defendants have generally accepted liability, 20 the parties still dispute the amount and causation of damages alleged by Plaintiff. 21 Plaintiff’s first motion in limine argues that “Defendants should be precluded from 22 arguing that Alexis suffered from some imaginary spine injury, or that some injury predating the 23 crash, solely because Plaintiff lacks medical records to disprove Defendants’ baseless 24 allegations.” Doc. No. 97 at p. 6, l.15-17. Plaintiffs argue that allowing such argument would 25 require Plaintiff to prove a negative. 26 II. Analysis 27 28 A motion in limine is a procedural mechanism made in advance to limit testimony or evidence in a particular area” and is “entirely within the discretion of the Court.” Diamond X Case 2:19-cv-01332-KJD-NJK Document 132 Filed 01/17/23 Page 2 of 2 1 Ranch, LLC v. Atlantic Richfield Co., No. 3:13-cv-00570-MMD-WGC, 2018 WL 2127734, at 2 *1 (D. Nev. May 8, 2018). A “motion in limine should not be used to resolve factual disputes or 3 weigh evidence.” IGT v. Alliance Gaming Corp., No. 2:04-cv-1676-RCJ-RJJ, 2008 WL 4 7084605, at *2 (D. Nev. Oct. 21, 2008). “To exclude evidence on a motion in limine, ‘the 5 evidence must be inadmissible on all potential grounds.’” Diamond X Ranch, 2018 WL 6 2127734, at *1 (quoting Indiana Ins. Co. v. General Elec. Co., 326 F.Supp.2d 844, 846 (N.D. 7 Ohio 2004)). 8 Plaintiff argues that Federal Rule of Evidence 403 precludes any testimony regarding 9 missing medical records: “[even] [r]elevant evidence may be excluded if its probative value is 10 substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, misleading the 11 jury, or if it would result in undue delay, waste of time, or a needlessly cumulative presentation 12 of evidence.” Plaintiffs argue that the evidence is not relevant and its admission would be too 13 prejudicial. 14 However, with causation and damages still at issue, prior injury is relevant and it appears 15 that Defendant intends to address this through Plaintiff’s deposition testimony, Defenses’ expert 16 witness, and Plaintiff’s existing medical records. Defendants oppose the motion asserting that 17 they are not relying on a lack of records to prove a pre-existing back injury. The Court agrees 18 that Defendants may attempt to introduce relevant evidence of prior injury. The weight and 19 credibility of that evidence is for the jury to decide. To the extent that Defendants refer to a lack 20 of medical records, they must lay the appropriate foundation before doing so. Accordingly, the 21 Court denies the motion in limine as premature, subject to renewal if Defendants ask questions 22 with appropriate foundation demonstrating relevance and lack of prejudice. 23 III. Conclusion 24 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine No. 1 (#97) is 25 DENIED as premature. 26 Dated this 17th day of January, 2023. 27 28 _____________________________ Kent J. Dawson United States District Judge -2-

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