Kobrick v. Stevens et al
ORDER - It is hereby ORDERED that: 1. Kobrick's MIL 174 is GRANTED.; 2. Stevens may not raise consent as a defense in trial to the claims against him. He may not testify that Kobrick "consented to" any inappropriate sexual conduc t by Stevens or that she "consented to" enter a sexual relationship w/ Stevens.; 3. In acc w/ the Fed Rules of Evidence the ct will instruct the jury that consent is an impermissible defense to liability. (See order for complete details.) Signed by Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner on 4/11/18. (ki)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MATTHEW STEVENS, LAKELAND
SCHOOL DISTRICT, WESTERN
WAYNE SCHOOL DISTRICT, DR.
THOMAS KAMEROSKI, ANDREW
FALONK, and PATRICK SHEEHAN,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:13-CV-2865
(Chief Judge Conner)
AND NOW, this 11th day of April, 2018, upon consideration of the motion
(Doc. 174) in limine by plaintiff Alexandra Kobrick (“Kobrick”) seeking to preclude
testimony by defendant Matthew Stevens (“Stevens”) on the subject of Kobrick’s
purported consent to inappropriate sexual conduct or to enter a sexual relationship,
wherein Kobrick argues that any such testimony by Stevens is irrelevant because
Kobrick could not consent as a matter of law, (id. ¶¶ 30-32), and that even if such
testimony is relevant, it is unduly prejudicial as it risks confusing or misleading the
jury into believing consent is a valid defense to the claims against Stevens, (id. ¶ 33),
and the motion having been fully briefed, (Docs. 175, 183, 187), and the court
observing that evidence is relevant if it renders a material fact either more or less
probable than it would be absent the evidence, and relevant evidence is, as a
general rule, admissible, FED. R. EVID. 401, 402, but that evidence may be excluded
if its probative value is substantially outweighed by unfair prejudice, confusion of
the issues, or misleading the jury, FED. R. EVID. 403, and the court noting that, as a
matter of law, “a minor student is incapable of consenting to sexual relations with
her teacher,” (Doc. 143 at 18, 19-20); see also Chancellor v. Pottsgrove Sch. Dist., 501
F. Supp. 2d 695, 705-06, 708 (E.D. Pa. 2007), such that any testimony by Stevens as
to Kobrick’s alleged consent is irrelevant to the claims asserted against Stevens sub
judice, cf. Chancellor v. Pottsgrove Sch. Dist., No. 2:06-CV-1067, Doc. 97 at 7 (E.D.
Pa. Jan. 8, 2008), and that any probative value is substantially outweighed by the
likelihood that such testimony will confuse or mislead the jury to believe that
consent is a valid defense to Kobrick’s claims, and the court concluding that
Stevens shall not be permitted to testify that Kobrick consented to any
inappropriate sexual contact or a sexual relationship with Stevens while a minor
student, it is hereby ORDERED that:
Kobrick’s motion (Doc. 174) in limine is GRANTED.
Stevens may not raise consent as a defense at trial to the claims
against him. He may not testify that Kobrick “consented to” any
inappropriate sexual conduct by Stevens or that she “consented to”
enter a sexual relationship with Stevens.
In accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence, the court will
instruct the jury that consent is an impermissible defense to liability.
/S/ CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
United States District Court
Middle District of Pennsylvania
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