United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court
before the Court are Plaintiff/Counterdefendant's motion
in limine (Dkt. 62) and three motions in limine filed by
Defendant/Counterclaimant (Dkts. 67, 68, 73-1). The motions
are fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons expressed
below, the Court will grant in part and deny in part the
Plaintiff's Motion in Limine (Dkt. 62)
motion seeks to preclude Defendant from introducing evidence
or testimony at trial referencing: (1) telephone calls from
anonymous persons to TimberStone Golf Course, as inadmissible
hearsay, and (2) settlement offers or statements made during
settlement discussions or mediation proceedings. On September
19, 2016, the court issued an Order (Dkt. 97) granting in
part and denying in part plaintiff's motion as to request
(1). The Court takes up the remaining request here.
Settlement and Mediation Discussions
seeks to exclude any testimony or evidence regarding
settlement offers or statements made during settlement
discussions or mediation proceedings, pursuant to Federal
Rule of Evidence 408. See Pl. Brief at 3, Dkt.
Defendant opposes the motion, asserting that it has no
intention of relying on such evidence for a purpose
prohibited under Rule 408 but may seek to rely on the
evidence “for another purpose, such as proving a
witness's bias or prejudice [and/or] negating a
contention of undue delay . . . .” See Def.
Resp. at 6, Dkt. 83 (quoting Fed.R.Evid. 408(b)).
408 generally prohibits the introduction of evidence relating
to offers of compromise and statements made during the course
of settlement negotiations to “prove or disprove the
validity or amount of a disputed claim or to impeach by a
prior inconsistent statement or a contradiction.”
Fed.R.Evid. 408(a). However, Rule 408 is not an absolute ban
on evidence regarding settlement negotiations.
presently unknown what testimony or evidence pertaining to
settlement offers or negotiations the parties may seek to
introduce, and for what purpose. Therefore, the Court
declines at this stage to place a blanket prohibition on this
category of evidence. Defendant's motion is DENIED,
without prejudice to a timely objection to the presentation
of such evidence at trial. However, Plaintiff's counsel
is directed to raise the issue with the Court outside the
presence of the jury before attempting to offer evidence
concerning prior settlement discussions.
Defendant's Motions in Limine
References to Prior or Pending Litigation (Dkt.
asks the court to preclude Plaintiff from offering any
testimony or evidence, or making any other reference before
the jury, regarding prior or pending litigation between the
parties. Def. Brief at 1-2, Dkt. 67-1. Relying on
Federal Rules of Evidence 401, 402, and 403, Defendant
explains that such evidence has no probative value and
presents a substantial risk of unfair prejudice, confusing
the issues, and misleading the jury. Def. Brief at
5-8, Dkt. 67-1.
parties refer specifically to three prior or pending
proceedings. The first, the “Cancellation Proceeding,
” is the petition for cancellation of Defendant's
federally registered trademark filed by Plaintiff on or about
July 8, 2014 with the United States Patent and Trademark
Office (“USPTO”). Watkins Aff. Ex. E,
Dkt. 67-7. The Cancellation Proceeding has been stayed until
this case reaches a final disposition, and the USPTO has yet
to rule on any substantive issues. Watkins Supp. Aff. in
Support of Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 1, Dkt.
49-1. The second proceeding, the “Illinois Action,
” is the trademark infringement lawsuit filed by
Defendant on July 18, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois. Watkins Aff. Ex. C,
Dkt. 67-5. This case was dismissed on November 6, 2014 for
lack of personal jurisdiction and did not reach the merits at
issue. Watkins Aff. Ex. D, Dkt. 67-6. The third, the
“Clerk's Default, ” is the Clerk's Entry
of Default filed in this case on August 13, 2014 (Dkt. 10),
which the court later set aside on March 31, 2015 (Dkt. 26).
Illinois Action and Clerk's Default
states in its response to the motion in limine that it
“has no intention of mentioning [the Illinois Action
and Clerk's Default] in its case in chief, though
respectfully reserves the right to do so if raised by
Defendant during the trial.” Pl. Resp. at 4,
Dkt. 82. Based on this representation, the Court will GRANT
the motion as to the Illinois Action and Clerk's Default,
but on the condition that Defendant not present any evidence
or testimony, or make any comment before the jury, regarding
these prior proceedings at any point during this trial.
parties disagree on the admissibility of evidence regarding