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Kareem Brown v. J. Kavanaugh

April 29, 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 GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 1 TO EXCLUDE REFERENCE TO ANY SOURCE OF POSSIBLE JUDGMENT (ECF No. 75) ORDER DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 2 TO EXCLUDE WITNEESES NOT PREVIOUSLY DISCLOSED (ECF No. 76) ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 3 TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE RELATING TO DISMISSED CLAIMS AND DAMAGES RELATED THERETO (ECF No. 77) ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 4 TO EXCLUDE PLAINTIFF'S EXHIBIT DECLARATIONS (ECF No. 78)

I.Introduction

Plaintiff Kareem Brown is a state prisoner currently housed at Centinela State Prison. The events at issue occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Corcoran State Prison in 2008. This action proceeds 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 2 Defendant Kavanaugh for suspending Plaintiff from the Men's Advisory Council ("MAC") on August 3 26, 2008, as retaliation in violation of the First Amendment. The matter is set for jury trial before the 4 undersigned on May 2, 2013. 5 On April 8, 2013, Defendants filed motions in limine. (ECF Nos. 75, 76, 77, and 78.) Plaintiff 6 did not file timely oppositions to the motions. 7

II.Motions in Limine

A party may use a motion in limine to exclude inadmissible or prejudicial evidence before it is 9 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 avoids potentially prejudicial evidence being presented in front of the jury. Brodit v. Cambra, 350 F.3d 985, 1004-05 (9th Cir. 2003).

Motions in limine that exclude broad categories of evidence are disfavored and such issues are better dealt with during trial as the admissibility of evidence arises. Sperberg v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Co., 519 F.2d 708, 712 (6th Cir. 1975). Additionally, some evidentiary issues are not accurately and efficiently evaluated by the trial judge in a motion in limine and it is necessary to defer ruling until trial when the judge can better estimate the impact of the evidence on the jury. Jonasson, 115 F.3d at 440.

III.Defendants' Motion in Limine No. 1 to Exclude Reference to Any Source of Possible Judgment

Defendants move the Court for an order precluding Plaintiff from referencing, alluding to or otherwise mentioning to the jury through testimony or other means that the State of California or the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") would be liable for paying any judgment for damages that Plaintiff may be awarded. Defendants contend that such information is not relevant and would be highly prejudicial pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 402 and 403.

Defendants also contend that such evidence is tantamount to evidence of insurance, which is improper 2 pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 801. 3

Information regarding whether the State or CDCR would pay a verdict or reimburse Defendants for any compensatory damage award, if any, is not relevant to Plaintiff's claim of 5 retaliation. Fed. R. Evid. 401. Defendants' motion in limine no. 1 to preclude such information is 6 GRANTED. 7

IV.Defendants' Motion in Limine No. 2 to Exclude Witnesses Not Previously Disclosed

Defendants seek an order limiting Plaintiff to only those witnesses that he disclosed in 9 discovery. The pretrial order limits Plaintiff's witnesses to the following persons: (1) Plaintiff; (2) Defendant Garcia; and (3) Defendant Kavanaugh. The order provides that no other witnesses may be called at trial unless the parties stipulate or upon a showing that the pretrial order should be modified to prevent "manifest injustice." Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(e); ECF No. 72, pp. 9-10. The pretrial order also expressly states that "Plaintiff may not call any incarcerated witnesses to testify at trial." ECF No. 72, p. 14. Accordingly, Defendants' motion in limine no. 2 to limit Plaintiff's witnesses is unnecessary and is DENIED AS MOOT.

V.Defendants' Motion in Limine No. 3 to Exclude Evidence Relating to Dismissed Claims and Damages Related Thereto

Defendants seek an order precluding Plaintiff from referring to, commenting on or questioning any witness or in any way conveying to the jury information about dismissed parties, dismissed claims or damages related to those dismissed parties or claims. In particular, Defendants are concerned that Plaintiff will attempt to revive claims that were dismissed by summary judgment. These claims are identified as follows: (1) Plaintiff's claims regarding Defendant Garcia allegedly refusing Plaintiff access to the housing unit on October 14, 2008; (2) Plaintiff's claims regarding Defendant Kavanaugh allegedly disposing of ...


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