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Community House, Inc., Et. Al v. City of Boise

April 11, 2012

COMMUNITY HOUSE, INC., ET. AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF BOISE, IDAHO, ET. AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



ORDER RE: MOTIONS IN LIMINE

INTRODUCTION

Before the Court are the parties' motions in limine requesting the Court to rule on various evidentiary issues they anticipate will arise at the time of trial. (Dkt. 299, 303, 304.) The parties filed responses to the pre-trial motions, (Dkt. 310, 311, 314, 316, 331), and the Court inquired of the parties during the pre-trial conference held on March 29, 2012, regarding stipulations concerning the causes of action proceeding to trial. The Court issues this preliminary ruling on the motions, which may be subject to revision upon consideration of evidentiary issues presented within the context of the trial.

ANALYSIS

1.Claims Remaining for Trial

On July 22, 2008, the Court issued a memorandum decision and order granting in part and denying in part Plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint. (Dkt. 191.)*fn1

Specifically, the Court granted the motion to the extent it sought to (1) add state law claims in Counts 12 through 17 without seeking monetary damages; (2) add Count 18 for violation of the First Amendment; and (3) add plaintiffs James Masker, Jessica Schafer, and Jimmy Moore, but not Jim Liddell. The Court held that, because Plaintiffs failed to file a timely notice of tort claim with the City of Boise prior to filing their complaint on July 15, 2005, Plaintiffs may not seek monetary damages as to all existing state law claims but may seek injunctive and declaratory relief, or rescission and specific performance.

Much of Defendants' Motion in Limine focuses on defining the claims remaining for trial. With reference to the Second Amended Complaint, (Dkt. 166-1, 317), Plaintiffs' response provided a chart outlining the claims remaining as a result of prior court decisions over the course of this litigation:

Claim No. Compl. Page No. Status 1 29--30 Summary judgment granted for Defendants. Dkt. 261 at 16. 2 30 Summary judgment on 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(1) and (2) ("disparate treatment" because of disability) granted for Defendants; summary judgment on 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B) (failure to accommodate) denied. Dkt. 261 at 22--23.

3 30--31 Summary judgment on Fair Housing Act religion claims granted for Defendants; summary judgment on Fair Housing Act gender and familial status claims denied. Dkt. 261 at 25. 4 31--32 Defendants did not move for summary judgment on this claim, see Dkt. 200-2, and the Court has not rendered a decision on it. 5 32 Summary judgment denied. Dkt. 261 at 26. 6 32 Summary judgment denied. Dkt. 261 at 27. 7 32--33 Summary judgment denied. Dkt. 261 at 28. 8 33--35 Summary judgment granted for Defendants. Dkt. 261 at 30. 9 36 Summary judgment granted for Defendants. Dkt. 261 at 30. 10 37 Summary judgment granted for Defendants. Dkt. 261 at 30. 11 37--38 Damage aspect dismissed, Dkt. 191 at 7; summary judgment on equitable aspect denied, Dkt. 261 at 31. 12 38 Damage aspect dismissed, Dkt. 191 at 7; summary judgment on equitable aspect denied, Dkt. 261 at 31. 13 38--39 Damage aspect dismissed, Dkt. 191 at 7; summary judgment on equitable aspect of the claim denied, Dkt. 261 at 31. 14 39--40 Damage aspect dismissed, Dkt. 191 at 7; summary judgment on equitable aspect of the claim denied, Dkt. 261 at 31. 15 40--41 Damage aspect dismissed, Dkt. 191 at 7; summary judgment granted as to rescission aspect of this claim, but summary judgment on all other equitable aspects (e.g., equitable estoppel, resulting trust, equitable ownership) of the claim denied, Dkt. 261 at 31. 16 41 Damage aspect dismissed, Dkt. 191 at 7; summary judgment on equitable aspect denied, Dkt. 261 at 31. 17 41--42 Summary judgment denied. Dkt. 261 at 13. 18 42--43 Summary judgment denied. Dkt. 261 at 12. 19 43 Dismissed. Dkt. 193.
During the pre-trial conference, the Court inquired about the extent to which the parties agreed concerning the above outline of the claims remaining for trial. The parties agreed that the following claims remain: claim number two, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B), for failure to accommodate; claim number three for gender and familial status claims under the Fair Housing Act; claims five, six, and seven;*fn2 claims eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen,*fn3 and sixteen subject to the Court's ruling that only the equitable claims survived;*fn4 and claims seventeen and eighteen. Plaintiffs represented that they are abandoning claim number four.

Based upon the parties' representations at the pre-trial conference, to the extent Defendants argue that Plaintiffs should be prohibited from offering evidence regarding claims that were dismissed or otherwise resolved by the courts' prior rulings, (see Def. Supp. Mem. §§ D-T, Dkt. 304), those arguments are moot given the parties' agreement.

The Court will now turn to the substantive evidentiary arguments raised by the parties' motions in limine.

2.Defendants' Motion in Limine

A.Damages

Defendants allege that Plaintiffs have not disclosed a computation of each category of damages claimed by each Plaintiff. Plaintiffs' initial disclosures listed damages of $3 million, representing the alleged value of the corporate assets Defendants took possession of and the money CHI paid to develop the property. Defendants argue that, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c), Plaintiffs should be barred from introducing any evidence concerning damages alleged in Plaintiffs' initial disclosures, or any other damages claimed but not disclosed by any of the Plaintiffs to this action.

Plaintiffs contend, on the other hand, that they made available all documents supporting their damage claims during the course of discovery. Further, Plaintiffs argue that the City of Boise took control of all of CHI's property and assets once the City took over operations of Community House, and therefore knew what those assets consisted of. CHI asserts that Defendants were provided with expert reports and appraisers' opinions on the value of Community House and the lease, as well as the value of rents collected from the residential apartments, considering the City took over all operations. Plaintiffs assert that the loss of their assets, comprised of furniture and fixtures, the value of rents, and the value of the lease itself, constitute CHI's damages.

As to the individual plaintiffs named in the suit, Plaintiffs contend that their damages are based upon emotional distress allegedly suffered as a result of Defendants' discriminatory practices, and as such, cannot be quantified by mathematical computation. Rather, those damages are subject to proof at trial.

Other than evidence regarding damages in general, Defendants have not identified any specific evidence they seek to be excluded. Moreover, at face value, Defendants would have this Court eliminate all proof of damages, a prima facie element of Plaintiffs' case. Such is not the purpose of a motion in limine. Further, the motion encompasses evidence that may or may not be introduced at trial. Given the Court can make more informed rulings on the evidence during trial, the Court will deny this portion of Defendants' motion without prejudice to Defendants ...


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