United States District Court, D. Idaho
DANA MADDOX on behalf of D.M. and D.M., and RAYMOND FOSTER on behalf of H.F., minor children and heirs of JEANETTA RILEY, deceased, and SHANE RILEY, an heir of JEANETTA RILEY, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF SANDPOINT, a political subdivision of the State of Idaho, CITY OF SANDPOINT POLICE DEPARTMENT, a department of the City of Sandpoint, SKYLAR CARL ZIEGLER, in his individual and official capacity, MICHAEL HENRY VALENZUELA, in his individual and official capacity, COREY COON, in his individual and official capacity, JOHN or JANE DOE #1-10, and Employees of the Sandpoint Police Department, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER
Lynn Winmill U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court are three motions in limine (Dkts. 120, 123,
124). The motions are fully briefed and at issue. Having
reviewed the briefing, the Court enters the following order.
is no express authority for motions in limine in either the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or the Federal Rules of
Evidence. Nevertheless, these motions are well recognized in
practice and by case law. See, e.g., Ohler v. United
States, 529 U.S. 753, 758 (2000). The key function of a
motion in limine is to “exclude prejudicial evidence
before the evidence is actually offered.” Luce v.
United States, 469 U.S. 38, 40 (1984).
Defendants' Motions in Limine
has stipulated to several of the requests in Defendants'
first motion in limine: (1) an order precluding the plaintiff
or plaintiff's lay witnesses from testifying as to legal
conclusions, (2) an order precluding the plaintiff or
plaintiff's lay witnesses from testifying as to the
decedent's pregnancy, (3) an order precluding the
plaintiff or the plaintiff's lay witnesses from rendering
medical opinions and/or offering a medical conclusion, (4) an
order precluding any reference or testimony regarding offers
of settlement, judgment or compromise, (5) an order
precluding any party from disclosing, mentioning or
referencing the fact that the defendants are or may be
covered by insurance, (6) an order allowing exhibits in
opening statement, and (7) an order declaring that all
non-party witnesses shall be excluded from the courtroom
prior to their own testimony. Dkt. 120 at 2-7, Dkt. 128 at
2-5. Good cause appearing, the Court will therefore order the
relief described above. The Court reminds the parties,
however, that while its orders are directed at the Plaintiff,
the orders will apply to both parties at trial: “what
is good for the goose is good for the gander - or possibly
more appropriate, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for
the gander.” Bright Harvest Sweet Potato Co., Inc.
v. H. J. Heinz Co., L.P., No. 1:13-CV-00296-BLW, 2016 WL
552455, at *1 (D. Idaho Feb. 10, 2016) (Winmill, J.).
request a variety of other orders from the Court, which
Plaintiff contests: (1) an order in limine precluding
plaintiff and plaintiff's lay witnesses from testifying
as to the medical cause or source of physical manifestations
claimed to be the result of infliction of emotional distress
or the alleged events that make up the plaintiff's
complaint, (2) an order in limine barring testimony from the
plaintiff or the plaintiff's witnesses referencing or
implying that the defendant officers were obligated to use
the least amount of force necessary during this incident, (3)
an order in limine precluding the plaintiff from presenting
documents disclosed during discovery pertaining to, or
included in, the defendant officers' personnel files and
training records with the City of Sandpoint Police Department
that are not documents of public record, and (4) an order in
limine precluding plaintiff from calling John Callanan Jr. as
a rebuttal witness, or from eliciting rebuttal testimony
following the testimony of defendant's expert witness at
trial. Dkt. 120 at 3-6. The Court will address each of these
requests in turn.
Medical Cause Opinions
ask the Court to prevent the Plaintiff from testifying as to
the “medical causation” or
“prognosis” of his alleged emotional distress.
Dkt. 120 at 5-6. As the Defendants point out, Mr. Riley is
not a medical expert, and therefore cannot offer opinions
about medical injuries. But Defendants' request is
overbroad and their arguments-citing Idaho state law for
Federal Rule of Evidence 701 can sometimes bar a lay witness
from offering opinion testimony regarding causation, it does
not warrant the exclusion of all testimony from a witness
relating to emotional distress. Defendants mistake a lay
witness testifying from personal knowledge about his
emotional distress, which Courts routinely allow, with
opinion testimony concerning medical causation. See, e.g.,
Head v. Glacier Northwest, Inc., 413 F.3d 1053,
1062-63 (9th Cir.2005). Mr. Riley can certainly testify about
his emotional state following the July 8, 2014 shooting and
the circumstances surrounding it. Although Mr. Riley cannot
hold himself out to be a medical expert, or offer medical
opinions on causation, the Court will deny Defendants'
request to the extent it would prevent Mr. Riley from
discussing his emotional distress or his personal belief that
it is tied to the shooting on July 8.