Lee v. Dennison et al

Filing 133

ORDER Denying 98 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 133 Filed 01/17/23 Page 1 of 3 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. 2 (#98) to preclude or limit 13 reference to medical liens or any other collateral source of payment. Defendants filed a response 14 in opposition (#108). 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 second motion in limine argues that “Any evidence of reference to medical 22 liens should be strictly limited to asking doctors who still hold their liens at the time of trial: (1) 23 what a medical lien is; and (2) whether their treatment was offered on such a medical lien. Any 24 further questioning along these lines violates would violate [sic] the collateral source rule and 25 would cause unfair prejudice to plaintiffs.” Doc. No. 98 at p. 6, l. 15-19. 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 133 Filed 01/17/23 Page 2 of 3 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 9 Plaintiff is correct that Nevada has “adopt[ed] a per se rule barring the admission of a collateral source of payment for an injury into evidence for any purpose.” Proctor v. Castelletti, 10 911 P.2d 853, 854 (Nev. 1996). It concluded that “[collateral source evidence inevitably 11 prejudices the jury because it greatly increases the likelihood that a jury will reduce a plaintiffs 12 award of damages because it knows the plaintiff is already receiving compensation.” Id. Federal 13 courts likewise have adopted the collateral source rule. See Eichel v. New York Cent. R. 14 Co., 375 U.S. 253, 255 (1963) (stating that evidence the plaintiff is receiving benefits from a 15 collateral source is prejudicial); Russo v. Matson Nov. Co., 486 F.2d 1018, 1020 (9th Cir. 16 1973) (stating that “where the injured plaintiff's compensation comes from a collateral source, it 17 should not be offset against the sum awarded for the tort nor considered in determining that 18 award”). 19 However, evidence that Plaintiff was treated by physicians who hold medical liens does 20 not, in and of itself, violate the collateral source rule. Evidence of the existence of a medical lien 21 does not suggest a third-party source of payment; rather, it evidences “an unpaid bill.” Calvert v. 22 Ellis, 2016 WL 153044 at *4 (D. Nev. January 12, 2016). Thus, the existence of a lien could 23 implicate the lienholder’s credibility (i.e., whether the lien-holding witness is testifying in order 24 to help plaintiff recover funds to pay the lien). Id. Therefore, Defendants are not precluded from 25 asking Plaintiff’s treating physicians who are also retained experts whether they hold a medical 26 lien and in what amount. Nor are they precluded from arguing that the physicians may be biased 27 because they have an incentive to assist Plaintiff in maximizing recovery in this case. Expert 28 compensation is relevant and admissible as it may impact bias. Id. -2- Case 2:19-cv-01332-KJD-NJK Document 133 Filed 01/17/23 Page 3 of 3 1 2 III. Conclusion Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine No. 2 (#98) is 3 DENIED. 4 Dated this 17th day of January, 2023. 5 6 _ ___________________________ Kent J. Dawson United States District Judge 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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