PARK v. AHN et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER granting 71 Motion in Limine and denying 73 Motion in Limine. Signed by Chief Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly on 7/19/17. (ard)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
SANG B. PARK,
Civil Action No. 15-678
Chief Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly
MARCELO AHN; THE WALLACE,
Re: ECF Nos. 71 and 73
The case concerns a breach of contract claim stemming from Plaintiff Sang B. Park's
payment of $300,000 payment to Defendant Marcelo Ahn for the opening of a restaurant.
Presently before the Court are two Motions in Limine filed by Defendants Ahn and The Wallace
seeking: (1) to exclude communications regarding settlement dialogue, ECF No. 71; and (2) to
exclude evidence and argument regarding Defendants' finances and business operations, ECF
The first Motion in Limine seeks to exclude from evidence an e-mail sent by Defendant
Ahn to Plaintiffs son in which Defendant offers to repay Plaintiffs investment in exchange for
Plaintiff discontinuing the instant lawsuit. ECF No. 71. Defendants assert that this evidence is
barred by Federal Rule of Evidence 408, which generally prohibits the introduction of evidence
of offers to compromise. ECF No. 72 at 1-2. In response to the Motion in Limine, Plaintiff
argues: (1) that the e-mail does not qualify as a settlement offer because it is not directed to
Plaintiff or his counsel; (2) that the e-mail is not an offer of compromise and settlement; and (3)
even if the e-mail does qualify as a settlement offer, it is nonetheless admissible as a concession
and offer to pay. ECF No. 78 at 1-3.
In support of Plaintiffs argument, he cites to Molinas Valle Del Cibao v. Lama, 633 F.3d
1330, 1353-55 (11th Cir. 2011), for the proposition that "[w]here a party does not dispute a claim,
such as where the validity of the monetary claim and the amount are admitted, as is evidence[d]
in this e-mail, Rule 408, does not bar evidence relating to the concessions or any offer to pay."
ECF No. 78 at 3. However, this case is clearly distinguishable from Molinas in that Defendants
here dispute the essential nature of the monetary claim, i.e., whether the payment was an
investment or a loan.
After review of the e-mail, the Court finds that it does qualify as a settlement offer and
that it is not admissible as a concession. Accordingly, Defendants' first Motion in Limine, ECF
No. 71, will be granted.
In Defendants' second Motion in Limine, ECF No. 73, they move to exclude all evidence
regarding Defendants' finances and current business operations. ECF No. 73. Defendants claim
that this evidence is irrelevant and prejudicial. ECF No. 74 at 1. In response to this Motion in
Limine, Plaintiff argues that the financial records of Defendants are relevant and probative in
that, throughout this dispute, Defendants have repeatedly represented that they would repay
Plaintiff upon achieving financial success with the restaurant.
Plaintiff further argues that
financial records are relevant to establish the corporate structure of the Libra Restaurant Group,
LLC, the entity in which Defendants claim Plaintiff invested. The Court agrees that evidence
regarding Defendants' finances and current business operations is relevant and that its probative
value outweighs its potential for prejudice. Accordingly, Defendants' second Motion in Limine,
ECF No. 73, will be denied.
AND NOW, this 19th day of July, 2017, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants'
Motion in Limine to exclude communications regarding settlement dialogue, ECF No. 71, is
GRANTED and Defendants' Motion in Limine to exclude evidence and argument regarding
Defendants' finances and business operations, ECF No. 73, is DENIED.
BY THE COURT:
MAUREEN P. KELLY
CHIEF UNITED STA TES MA
All Counsel of Record via CM-ECF
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