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Washington v. Samuels

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 25, 2016

JESSE WASHINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
R. SAMUELS, Defendant.

          ORDER REGARDING PARTIES’ MOTIONS IN LIMINE [ECF Nos. 105 & 106]

         Plaintiff Jesse Washington is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         This action is proceeding against Defendant Samuels for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment.

         The matter is set for jury trial before the undersigned on August 2, 2016, at 8:30 a.m.

         On June 24, 2016, Defendant filed motions in limine. (ECF No. 105. Plaintiff filed an opposition on July 5, 2016. (ECF No. 107.)

         On June 30, 2016, Plaintiff filed motions in limine. (ECF No. 106.) Defendant filed an opposition on July 8, 2016. (ECF No. 110.) Plaintiff filed a reply on July 22, 2016. (ECF No. 113.)

         On July 22, 2016, the Court held a telephonic motions in limine hearing, and counsel Monica Anderson and Michelle Mayer appeared on behalf of Defendant Samuels and Plaintiff appeared pro se.

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “A motion in limine is a procedural mechanism to limit in advance testimony or evidence in a particular area.” United States v. Heller, 551 F.3d 1108, 1111 (9th Cir. 2009). 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 avoids potentially prejudicial evidence being presented in front of the jury, thereby relieving the trial judge from the formidable task of neutralizing the taint of prejudicial evidence. Brodit v. Cambra, 350 F.3d 985, 1004-05 (9th Cir. 2003).

         III.

         MOTIONS IN LIMINE

         A. Plaintiff’s Motions in Limine

         Plaintiff objects to Defendant’s percipient witnesses: Sergeant Nuckles, Officer Spurgeon, Lieutenant Sandoval, Officer Williams, RN Camia, RN Suniga, and expert witness, William Adams. Plaintiff objects the percipient witnesses because Defendant has failed to offer any statements as to what these witnesses will testify to, and Plaintiff contends these witnesses have no actual personal knowledge of any relevant facts.

         Plaintiff’s motion must be denied. As an initial matter, there is no requirement under the law that Defendant proffer a statement as to what each percipient witness will testify to. Plaintiff was only required to proffer a statement of each witness who is incarcerated in state custody because of the need for transportation.

         1. Sergeant Nuckles

         Plaintiff attempts to exclude testimony from percipient witness Sergeant Nuckles, contending that because the Court indicated in its ruling on Defendant’s motion for summary judgment that Sergeant Nuckles’ review and subsequent submission for a hearing of the Rules Violation Report (RVR) Defendant issued to Plaintiff was not enough to overcome the fact that Defendant May have independently issued the RVR in retaliation.

         Contrary to Plaintiff’s claim, the Court’s finding about this particular fact establishes that there is a material dispute, which is subject to determination by a jury.

         Ruling: Plaintiff’s motion in limine is DENIED. Plaintiff may cross-examine Nuckles as to his credibility and his testimony about his perceptions regarding the issuance of the RVR, and make any relevance objections at trial, but Plaintiff is not entitled to an order limiting such testimony in advance. Fed.R.Evid. 401, 402.

         2. Correctional ...


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