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Klamut v. Nibecker

United States District Court, N.D. California

March 31, 2017

WILLIAM KLAMUT, Plaintiff,
v.
NIBECKER, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS IN LIMINE NOS. 1 AND 2 RE: DKT. NOS. 76, 77

          MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge

         The Court set a deadline of March 16, 2017 for the parties to file motions in limine in anticipation of the May 15, 2017 trial that is scheduled in this action. See Am. Case Management Order (“Am. CMO”), Dkt. No. 50. Plaintiff William Klamut did not file any motions in limine; however, pending before the Court are two motions in limine filed by Defendants. Mot. No. 1, Dkt. No. 76; Mot. No. 2, Dkt. No. 77. Having considered the parties' arguments (when provided), the record in this case, and the relevant legal authority, the Court GRANTS both Motions.

         A. Motion in Limine No. 1

         Defendants move to prohibit Plaintiff from presenting any evidence in the form of an expert opinion, including but not limited to (1) “the use of force or other action tactics by law enforcement officers”; (2) the cause or explanation for Plaintiff's psychotic behavior; (3) the cause of any injury suffered by Plaintiff; or (4) Plaintiff's current physical and psychological medical conditions, including symptoms or causes. Mot. No. 1 at 1. Plaintiff filed no opposition to this Motion.

         Federal Rule of Evidence 702 governs the admissibility of expert testimony:

         [a] witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 requires parties to “disclose to the other parties the identity of any witness it may use at trial to present evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 702, 703, or 705.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(A). “Rule 37(c)(1) gives teeth to these requirements by forbidding the use at trial of any information required to be disclosed by Rule 26(a) that is not properly disclosed.” Yeti by Molly, Ltd. v. Deckers Outdoor Corp., 259 F.3d 1101, 1106 (9th Cir. 2001); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1) (“If a party fails to provide information or identify a witness as required by Rule 26(a) or (e), the party is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence . . . at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.”). Rule 37(c) is an “automatic sanction [that] provides a strong inducement for disclosure of material that the disclosing party would expect to use as evidence . . . at a trial[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37 advisory committee notes (1993 amendments).

         The Court's initial Case Management Order required the parties to disclose expert witnesses by July 22, 2016. CMO at 1, Dkt. No. 34; see Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(D) (parties must make expert “disclosures at the times and in the sequence that the court orders.”). Plaintiff did not disclose any expert witnesses. Defendants argue he therefore cannot offer any expert testimony about any issues that require scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge. Mot. No. 1 at 2. “Excluding expert evidence as a sanction for failure to disclose expert witnesses in a timely fashion is automatic and mandatory unless the party can show the violation is either justified or harmless.” Humboldt Baykeeper v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., 2010 WL 2179900, at *1 (N.D. Cal. May 27, 2010) (quoting Carson Harbor Vill., Ltd. v. Unocal Corp., 2003 WL 22038700, *2 (C.D. Cal. 2003). Plaintiff makes no attempt to argue his failure to disclose expert witnesses was justified or harmless. See Yeti by Molly, 259 F.3d at 1107 (“Implicit in Rule 37(c)(1) is that the burden is on the party facing sanctions to prove harmlessness.”). Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion in Limine No. 1.

         B. Motion in Limine No. 2

         Defendants move to exclude testimony or evidence regarding Plaintiff's medical or other special damages on the ground that Plaintiff did not timely disclose such damages as ...


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