United States District Court, D. Idaho
ROBERT WILLIAM SHERWOOD and PAMELA LOUISE SHERWOOD, husband and wife, Plaintiffs,
BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY, a Delaware corporation d/b/a The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company, and JOHN DOES I through X, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, U.S. District Court Judge
before the Court are several motions in limine. See
Dkts. 166, 168, 170, 184. Having considered the briefs and
the record in this case, the Court has determined that oral
argument is unnecessary and issues the following Order.
Plaintiffs' Motions in Limine
issue are Plaintiffs' Motion re: Collateral Sources (Dkt.
166), Motion to Enforce Rule 30(b)(6)
“No-Knowledge” Answers (Dkt. 168), and Omnibus
Motion in Limine (Dkt. 170).
Motion re: Collateral Sources (Dkt. 166)
ask the Court to exclude any evidence or argument at trial
that Blue Cross or Medicare paid or obtained write-downs from
Mr. Sherwood's medical providers. Dkt. 166 at 1.
Defendants agree that “plaintiff should present the
full amount of claimed damages and the Court would handle
off-sets in post-verdict motions.” Dkt. 195 at 4. As
both parties point out, Idaho Code § 6-1606 prohibits
double recoveries from collateral sources in any action for
personal injury. See Dkts. 166, 195. The statute
provides that judgment may be entered “only for damages
which exceed amounts received by the claimant from collateral
sources as compensation for the personal injury....”
I.C. § 6-1606.
Court agrees with the parties that the collateral source
issue is best handled post-trial. The Court will grant the
motion, reserving application of Idaho Code § 6-1606 to
post trial proceedings regarding damages, if appropriate.
Motion to Enforce Rule 30(b)(6) “No-Knowledge”
Answers (Dkt. 168)
also try to preclude Defendants from introducing evidence at
trial that would contradict certain answers given by
BNSF's 30(b)(6) representative during depositions. Dkt.
168 at 1. Plaintiffs' Motion purports to “enforce
the Court's prior ruling” that “if the
[30(b)(6)] deponent does not know the answer to the question,
then BNSF will be bound by that response at trial.”
Id. at 2, quoting Dkt. 143 at 15. Defendants counter
that “there is no prohibition against Rule 30(b)(6)
witnesses providing clarification, explanation,
supplementation, even contradiction for the testimony of
other witnesses or themselves.” Dkt. 193 at 3. Because
Plaintiffs overstate the scope of the Court's Order and
would have the Court sidestep contrary Ninth Circuit
precedent regarding the effect of 30(b)(6) deposition
testimony, the Court will deny the motion.
Ninth Circuit has repeatedly stated that corporate parties
have an opportunity to clarify their 30(b)(6)
representative's deposition testimony at trial, even
contradicting it if there is sufficient reason to do so.
While a corporate party “generally cannot present a
theory of the facts that differs from that articulated by the
designated Rule 30(b)(6) representative…the testimony
of a Rule 30(b)(6) deponent does not absolutely bind the
corporation in the sense of a judicial admission.”
Snapp v. United Transportation Union, 889 F.3d 1088,
1103 (9th Cir. 2018). Like any other deposition, 30(b)(6)
testimony can be “contradicted and used for impeachment
purposes.” Id. (quoting 7 James Wm. Moore, et
al., Moore's Federal Practice § 30.25 (3d ed.
2016)). The Ninth Circuit's endorsement of hornbook law
on this issue makes clear that a party is not precluded from
introducing evidence at trial that contradicts the testimony
of its 30(b)(6) representative. Plaintiffs may, however, use
the corporation's deposition testimony for impeachment
purposes, or to point out instances where BNSF might be
introducing contradictory evidence without good reason or
explanation. See id. at 1103. Any suggestion that
the Court's Order (Dkt. 143) stating that BNSF would be
“bound” by a response if the 30(b)(6) deponent
did not know the answer to the question overstates the scope
of the Court's Order and would run counter to controlling
Ninth Circuit precedent. Therefore, Plaintiffs' Motion to
Enforce 30(b)(6) “No-Knowledge” Answers will be
denied. Depending upon the testimony given, the Court may
consider giving the jury an explanatory instruction on the
function of the 30(b)(6) deposition and the obligation of the
deposed party to offer a representative who is knowledgeable
and able to address the topics identified by the deposing
Plaintiffs' Omnibus Motion in Limine (Dkt. 170)
Omnibus Motion in Limine asks the Court to exclude any
argument, reference, testimony, or documentary evidence
pertaining to three (3) issues: (1) possible reasons that
might have motivated former Plaintiffs' former spouse to
dismiss her claims; (2) Mr. Sherwood's former illegal
drug use; and (3) ...