United States District Court, N.D. California
J. AUGUSTO BASTIDAS, Plaintiff,
GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL LP, et al., Defendants.
ORDER RE MOTIONS IN LIMINE RE: DKT. NO. 218
ILLSTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
dispute arises out of defendant Good Samaritan Hospital's
(“GSH's”) suspension of plaintiff's
surgical privileges. Plaintiff initially filed this suit
alleging discrimination and disparate treatment based on
race. After substantial motion practice, plaintiff's two
remaining claims are for retaliation under 42 U.S.C. §
1981. Plaintiff seeks to prove at trial that defendants
retaliated against him for filing and prosecuting his
discrimination lawsuit. Plaintiff will seek to prove that
defendants: (1) unreasonably and intentionally delayed
finalizing and implementing plaintiff's surgical
proctoring program (“FPPE”); and (2) unreasonably
and intentionally delayed updating the National Practitioner
Data Bank (“NPDB”) with details of
plaintiff's limited suspension.
case is set for trial on June 5, 2017. In anticipation of
trial, defendant has filed six motions in limine, asking the
Court to exclude or limit evidence. In particular, defendant
seeks to exclude or limit: (1) evidence of prior court
orders; (2) evidence or argument relating to plaintiff's
June 4, 2015 meeting with Dr. Paul Beaupre; (3) testimony
from Dr. James Lilja; (4) testimony about plaintiff's
emotional distress; (5) evidence of plaintiff's
professional memberships, awards, and presentations; and (6)
damages calculations. These motions are appropriate for
decision without oral argument.
Prior Court Orders
seeks to limit plaintiff's introduction of the
Court's prior orders in this case, which plaintiff
intends to use to outline the procedural progress of the case
and to demonstrate that plaintiff engaged in a
“protected activity” - namely, filing this
lawsuit against defendant. Opp'n (Dkt. No. 226) at 3-4.
Defendant does not dispute that filing this lawsuit is a
protected activity, Reply (Dkt. No. 230) at 3, and is willing
to stipulate to the “occurrence and timing of relevant
procedural events in this case.” Id.
Accordingly, plaintiff does not need to introduce the content
of prior Court orders to show that he engaged in a protected
also contends that the “jury is entitled to know that
defendants had fair notice that their delays could be found
to be retaliatory, and when defendant knew this.”
Opp'n (Dkt. No. 226) at 4. Specifically, plaintiff wants
to introduce the following language from the Court's
March 15, 2016 Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss:
Defendants were therefore on notice that the Court considered
the prosecution of this case to be a protected activity, and
that any alleged retaliatory acts following the filing of
this compliant having to do with a failure to timely
institute a proctoring plan, or limiting Dr. Bastidas's
surgical privileges, would be carefully scrutinized.
Id. (citing Order on Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No.
152) at 3).
excerpts, such as the one above, are of questionable
relevance, and they pose a substantial danger of unfair
prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, and
wasting time. See Fed. R. Evid. 403. As such, the
parties may stipulate to a procedural timeline that includes
dates of various Court orders, but the content of the orders
will be excluded under Rule 403. Defendant's first motion
in limine is GRANTED.
June 2015 Meeting with Dr. Paul Beaupre
second motion in limine seeks to exclude evidence or argument
related to plaintiff's June 4, 2015 meeting with Dr. Paul
Beaupre, GSH's former CEO. On June 4, 2015, plaintiff and
Dr. Paul Beaupre met in Beaupre's office to discuss
plaintiff's general surgery emergency room call contract.
Plaintiff alleges that during the meeting, Dr. Beaupre
demanded that plaintiff apologize for filing this
discrimination lawsuit. After plaintiff refused to apologize,
Beaupre allegedly “kicked him out” of his office.
first argues that evidence about this meeting is irrelevant
because implementing the FPPE and amending the NPDB fell
outside Dr. Beaupre's bailiwick. Mot. (Dkt. No. 218) at
4-5. However, even accepting defendant's argument that
Dr. Beaupre was cut off from medical staff decision-making,
meeting is relevant because it may suggest an antagonistic
relationship between GSH and Dr. Bastidas. A breakdown in
plaintiff's relationship with the GSH CEO could be seen
as part of an ongoing “pattern of antagonism.”
Under Rule 401's extremely broad standard, this evidence
also argues that evidence of the meeting should be excluded
under Rule 403, because its probative value is substantially
outweighed by a danger of confusing the issues and unfair
prejudice. Defendant argues that the meeting concerned
plaintiff's call contract, which is not at issue here,
and that Dr. Beaupre's view of plaintiff's lawsuit is
irrelevant to his retaliation claim, and thus likely to
confuse the jury. See Reply (Dkt. No. 230) at 5.
However, nothing suggests that defendant's concerns
substantially outweigh the evidence's probative value.
Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Beaupre asked him to apologize for
accusing Beaupre of being “racist” in his lawsuit
and then kicked plaintiff out of his office when he declined
to talk about the lawsuit. Although dramatic, both sides will
have the opportunity to present their version of the meeting.
Evidence of the meeting is probative because it casts doubt
on defendant's stated reasons for the NPDB and FPPE
delays, two central issues of the case.
concerning the meeting is probative, and its value is not
substantially outweighed by the risk of confusion or
prejudice. Defendant's second motion in limine is DENIED.
Dr. James Lilja
intends to introduce the testimony of Dr. James Lilja,
plaintiff's friend and colleague, to show:
The qualifications, quality of care of Dr. Bastidas in
oncology treatment; the consequences of continued suspension
of Dr. Bastidas and of an adverse NPDB report; interaction
with the medical community; effect of exclusion from cancer
clinical activities; patient referral patterns; recruitment
of medical associates; advanced cancer care alternatives.
Opp'n (Dkt. No. 226) at 7.
moves to exclude this evidence on two bases. First, defendant
argues that Dr. Lilja's testimony should be excluded
because plaintiff failed to disclose Dr. Lilja as a witness
pursuant to Rule 26(a). Second, defendant argues that Dr.
Lilja's testimony is inadmissible opinion testimony under
Rule 701 because it relies upon Dr. Lilja's specialized
Failure to Disclose
states that plaintiff first disclosed Dr. Lilja as a witness
in his list of trial witnesses. Mot. at 6. Plaintiff's
initial disclosure of witnesses did not specifically name Dr.
Lilja, but plaintiff argues that Dr. Lilja fell into the
statement's catch-all language:
Other as yet unidentified doctors at Good Samaritan Hospital
and elsewhere, who have information about Dr. Bastidas'
privileges and whose identities will be obtained by ...