United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Karla Edson's
(“Edson”) Motions in Limine (Filing No.
75; Filing No. 76), and Defendant Dreyer &
Reinbold, Inc.'s (“DRI”) Motion in Limine
(Filing No. 69), to exclude certain evidence and
testimony at trial. In her Motions in Limine, Edson
seeks to prohibit DRI from introducing certain evidence or
eliciting evidence regarding two topics, and in its Motion in
Limine, DRI asks the Court to exclude evidence that
falls within five specific categories. For the following
reasons, Edson's Motions in Limine are denied,
and DRI's Motion in Limine is granted in part
and denied in part.
a car dealership that sells BMW, Infiniti, Mini, Subaru and
Volkswagen vehicles. Edson worked for DRI's Greenwood,
Indiana location for more than nine years. The Greenwood
dealership has four separate service drives, one dedicated to
each of the four car brands. Since April 4, 2006, Edson held
the position of Appointment Coordinator for the Volkswagen
and Subaru service drives. James Kizer (“Kizer”),
the dealership's Service Manager, supervised Edson.
March 2015, Kizer planned to eliminate Edson's position
and create two service greeter positions: one for the
Volkswagen drive and the other for the Subaru drive. The
service greeters' duties entailed scheduling
appointments, greeting customers, arranging for alternate
transportation for customers, and serving as support staff to
the service advisors. Kizer initially intended to transition
Edson into one of the new service greeter positions. However,
Joe Bradshaw, a third party contractor hired to service
DRI's telephone system, informed Edson that she was being
moved to the Volkswagen Service Drive. Edson, who previously
worked in the Volkswagen service drive, stated that she would
quit if transferred to that specific drive. Edson repeated
the same sentiments to Leo Vandenbosch, Kizer's assistant
April 2, 2015, Kizer transferred Stephanie Bowman
(“Bowman”) to the Subaru service drive and on
April 14, 2015, he interviewed Julia Denham
(“Denham”) for a service greeter position. On
Thursday, April 16, 2015, Edson suffered a stroke at work.
The following day, Kizer hired Denham for the Volkswagen
service drive position. Edson returned to work the following
Monday, but suffered difficulty walking, balancing and
speaking. Edson's physician required her to undergo
physical therapy. Upon returning to work, Edson provided
Kizer with a schedule of her physical therapy appointments,
which required her to leave early on Wednesdays. Edson was
also approved for intermittent leave due to her serious
health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”). Kizer was not receptive to Edson's
missing work and questioned how long the appointments would
take and whether Edson could schedule the appointments during
her lunch hour or after work. (Filing No. 42-1 at
16.) On April 23, 2015, Edson spoke with Brian Gauker
(“Gauker”), DRI's General Manager, about her
therapy schedule. Gauker remarked: “Well, you know, the
owner would want us to be . . . compassionate in these
situations but we still have to run a business . . .
you're going to have all these other employees that are
going, well, how come she only has to work 40 hours a week
and I can't just work 40 hours a week.” (Filing
No. 38-1 at 27.)
11, 2015, approximately three weeks after her stroke, Edson
advised Kizer that she would need to use a
“scooter” at work due to her disability and
difficulty walking. She described the scooter as a walker
with wheels. (Filing No. 42-1 at 16.) Kizer asked on
two occasions about the appearance of the scooter and its
arrival because he worried that the scooter would not fit the
company's image. Id. at 18. Two days later,
Edson arrived at work with the scooter. Later that morning,
Kizer asked Edson to meet with him and Rita Kahn, the office
manager. Kizer then informed Edson that DRI restructured the
staffing of its service drives and eliminated her position as
Appointment Coordinator for both the Volkswagen and Subaru
drives. In response, Edson stated: “Wait. So you mean
to tell me that after nine years of faithful service to this
company, that you have no other place that you can put
me?” Kizer replied: “Well, we already filled the
position on the Volkswagen drive and the Subaru drive.”
Kizer continued by stating: “And now”- while
gesturing at Edson's scooter. Id. at 21.
Following the termination meeting, Edson collected her
personal belongings and left the dealership.
August 19, 2015, Edson filed an Amended Complaint against
DRI, asserting discrimination and retaliation claims pursuant
to FMLA, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., and the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (Filing No.
15.) Edson seeks compensatory, liquidated and punitive
damages. Id. at 5.
5, 2016, DRI filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, contending
that Edson's claims fail as a matter of law and no
genuine issue of material fact exists because Kizer planned
to terminate Edson prior to her suffering a stroke.
(Filing No. 36.) On December 13, 2016, the
Magistrate Judge entered his Report and Recommendation
denying DRI's Motion for Summary Judgment, concluding a
reasonable jury could find that DRI terminated Edson due to
her disability. (Filing No. 55.) Specifically, the
Magistrate Judge found: 1) Kizer's gesture at Edson's
scooter when terminating Edson, 2) Kizer's and
Gauker's statements regarding Edson's need for
therapy, and 3) the timing of Edson's termination,
collectively, are a sufficient basis which a reasonable jury
could conclude that DRI terminated Edson for discriminatory
objected to the Report and Recommendation but, on February 1,
2017, the Court overruled DRI's objections and adopted
the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation.
(Filing No. 59.) Accordingly, both Edson's FMLA
and ADA claims remain for trial.
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.
party has requested an order in limine to prohibit
the introduction of certain testimony and evidence at trial.
The Court ...