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Kareem Brown v. J. Kavanaugh

March 15, 2013

KAREEM BROWN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
J. KAVANAUGH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lawrence J. O'Neill United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE THE DEFENDANTS FROM THE COURTROOM WHILE THE OTHER IS TESTIFYING (ECF No. 60) ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF HIS PRIOR CONVICTIONS (ECF No. 61) ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO APPEAR DURING TRIAL FREE OF RESTRAINTS AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO APPEAR DURING TRIAL IN PERSONAL CLOTHING (ECF No. 62) ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF HIS PRISON DISCIPLINARY HISTORY (ECF No. / 63)

I. Introduction

This action is proceeding on Plaintiff's complaint against Defendant Garcia for reporting that Plaintiff forced open the housing unit door on August 26, 2008, as retaliation in violation of the First Amendment; and against Defendant Kavanaugh for suspending Plaintiff from the Men's Advisory Council ("MAC") on August 26, 2008, as retaliation in violation of the First Amendment. The matter is set for jury trial before the undersigned on April 30, 2013.

On February 27, 2013, Plaintiff filed motions in limine. (ECF Nos. 60, 61, 62 and 63.) On March 15, 2013, the Court held a telephonic trial confirmation hearing and issued oral rulings on Plaintiff's motions in limine. This order follows the Court's hearing.

II. Allegations Proceeding in this Action

The events at issue occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Corcoran State Prison. Plaintiff alleges that on July 1, 2008, Defendant Garcia refused to release him to attend a MAC meeting. On July 7 or 8, 2008, Officer Beam indicated to Plaintiff that Defendant Garcia had phoned and informed him that Plaintiff "had ratted on her."

On July 14, 2008, Defendant Garcia requested that Plaintiff come to see her in the control booth. Defendant Garcia asked Plaintiff if he had told other MAC members that she would not let him out to attend the MAC meeting. When he answered yes, Defendant Garcia began asking Plaintiff, in front of other inmates, why he had ratted on her. That same evening, Plaintiff approached Defendant Kavanaugh to let him know that he was planning to file an inmate appeal regarding Defendant Garcia's behavior.

On August 26, 2008, Defendant Garcia allegedly fabricated a rules violation report against

Plaintiff for disobeying a direct order after returning from his work assignment.

On August 26, 2008, Defendant Kavanaugh told Plaintiff that Defendant Garcia had informed him Plaintiff had forced the housing unit door open, which was a breach of security. Plaintiff responded that Defendant Garcia was retaliating against him. Defendant Kavanaugh told Plaintiff that he did not believe Defendant Garcia had called Plaintiff a rat. Defendant Kavanaugh suspended Plaintiff from the MAC for forcing the housing unit door open. The following day, Plaintiff filed an inmate appeal against Defendant Kavanaugh. The appeal was discarded.

On August 29, 2008, Plaintiff was interviewed by Defendant Kavanaugh regarding the inmate appeal against Defendant Garcia. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Kavanaugh's previous statement that he did not believe Defendant Garcia called him a rat exhibited bias. Plaintiff objected to Defendant Kavanaugh hearing the inmate appeal, but his objection was not documented. Plaintiff was found guilty of a rule violation.

III. Motions in Limine

A. Standard

A party may use a motion in limine to exclude inadmissible or prejudicial evidence before it is actually introduced at trial. See Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 40 n. 2 (1984). "[A] motion in limine is an important tool available to the trial judge to ensure the expeditious and evenhanded management of the trial proceedings." Jonasson v. Lutheran Child and Family Services, 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997). A motion in limine allows the parties to resolve evidentiary disputes before trial and ...


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