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Spreckelmeyer v. Indiana State Police Department

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

January 11, 2017

SHANNON SPRECKELMEYER, Plaintiff,
v.
INDIANA STATE POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant.

          ENTRY ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Shannon Spreckelmeyer's (“Spreckelmeyer”) Motion in Limine (Filing No. 57) and Defendant Indiana State Police Department's (“ISP”) Motion in Limine (Filing No. 64) to exclude certain evidence and testimony at trial. Spreckelmeyer's claim against ISP for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is set for a jury trial scheduled to begin on February 6, 2017. Spreckelmeyer asks the Court to exclude evidence regarding post-employment and mitigation income as well as the EEOC dismissal and notice of right to sue. ISP asks the Court to exclude evidence that falls within thirteen specific categories. For the following reasons, Spreckelmeyer's Motion in Limine is granted, and ISP's Motion in Limine is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         “[J]udges have broad discretion in ruling on evidentiary questions during trial or before on motions in limine.” Jenkins v. Chrysler Motors Corp., 316 F.3d 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2002). The Court excludes evidence on a motion in limine only if the evidence clearly is not admissible for any purpose. See Hawthorne Partners v. AT&T Technologies, Inc., 831 F.Supp. 1398, 1400 (N.D. Ill. 1993). Unless evidence meets this exacting standard, evidentiary rulings must be deferred until trial so questions of foundation, relevancy, and prejudice may be resolved in context. Id. at 1400- 01. Moreover, denial of a motion in limine does not necessarily mean that all evidence contemplated by the motion is admissible; rather, it only means that, at the pretrial stage, the Court is unable to determine whether the evidence should be excluded. Id. at 1401.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Each party has requested an order in limine to prohibit the introduction of certain testimony and evidence at trial. The Court will address the parties' Motions in turn.

         A. Spreckelmeyer's Motion in Limine

         Spreckelmeyer first asserts that evidence of Spreckelmeyer's post-employment and mitigation income should not be presented to the jury because this evidence is irrelevant, prejudicial, and confusing to the jury because the equitable remedy of back pay is a determination of the Court. See Pals v. Schepel Buick & GMC Truck, Inc., 220 F.3d 495, 500-01 (7th Cir. 2000).

         Responding to Spreckelmeyer's Motion in Limine, ISP notes that it “has no objection to precluding evidence regarding Spreckelmeyer's post-employment and mitigation income as it is also ISP's position that Spreckelmeyer should be precluded from presenting any evidence related to the award of back or front pay until such a time that a determination has been made as to liability.” (Filing No. 73 at 1.)

         Next, Spreckelmeyer asserts that evidence of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (“EEOC”) “Notice of Dismissal and Right to Sue” following Spreckelmeyer's EEOC charge of discrimination should be excluded from trial because such evidence is not relevant and would be substantially and unfairly prejudicial to her case. The introduction of such evidence could lead the jury to improperly believe that a determination regarding the claims already has been made. In support of her argument, Spreckelmeyer points to Lewis v. City of Chicago, 563 F.Supp.2d 905, 919-20 (7th Cir. 2008); Tulloss v. Near North Montessori Sch., Inc., 776 F.2d 150, 153-54 (7th Cir. 1985); and Latham v. Department of Children and Youth Services, 172 F.3d 786, 791-92 (11th Cir. 1999) (exclusion of EEOC determination is proper in jury trials). In response to this argument, ISP explains that it “has no objection to precluding evidence regarding the EEOC notice of dismissal and right to sue.” (Filing No. 73 at 1.)

         Spreckelmeyer's arguments are well-taken, and thus, based on the case law provided by Spreckelmeyer and ISP's lack of objection to the exclusion of such evidence, the Court GRANTS Spreckelmeyer's Motion in Limine to exclude evidence regarding Spreckelmeyer's post-employment and mitigation income and the EEOC's Notice of Dismissal and Right to Sue.

         B. ISP's Motion in Limine

         ISP requests an order in limine covering thirteen categories of testimony and evidence.

         1. Settlemen ...


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