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Arcelormittal Indiana Harbor LLC v. Amex Nooter LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

January 24, 2018

ARCELORMITTAL INDIANA HARBOR LLC, and ARCELORMITTAL USA LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
AMEX NOOTER, LLC, Defendant

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         These matters are before the Court on 13 Motions in Limine filed by Plaintiffs ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor LLC and ArcelorMittal USA LLC (hereinafter collectively “ArcelorMittal”) on January 3, 2018, filed at ¶ 177, 179, 180, 181, 185, 187, 190, 196, 197, 198, 206, 207, and 208 and 14 Motions in Limine filed by Defendant Amex Nooter, LLC on January 3, 2018, filed at ¶ 188, 189, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, and 205.

         The Court also considered the separate responses to each Motion in Limine. No. Replies were permitted.

         In determination of these issues the Court FINDS, ORDERS, ADJUDGES, and DECREES:

         Federal Rule of Evidence 104 provides, in part: “Preliminary questions concerning admissibility of evidence shall be determined by the Court.” Motions in Limine to exclude evidence prior to trial are subject to a rigorous standard of review by the trial court. Courts may bar evidence in limine “only when evidence is clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds.” Dartey v. Ford Motor Co., 104 F.Supp.2d 1017, 1020 (N.D. Ind. 2000) (quoting Hawthorne Partners v. AT&T Tech., 831 F.Supp. 1398, 1400 (N.D. Ill. 1993)). If evidence does not meet this standard, “the evidentiary rulings should be deferred until trial so that questions of foundation, relevance, and potential prejudice may be resolved in proper context.” Id. (quoting Hawthorne, 831 F.Supp. at 1400). Often, the “better practice is to deal with questions of admissibility of evidence as they arise, presenting the issues in a specific context, rather than excluding broad categories of evidence prior to trial.” United States v. Phillips, No. 1:12-CR-872, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79916* 5-6 (N.D. Ill. June 12, 2014).

         A court's rulings in limine are preliminary in nature and subject to change. In this Order the Court is not making final determination on the admissibility of evidence. The Court reserves the right to change these rulings during the trial should the Court find that the evidence or arguments at trial justify such change.

         PLAINTIFFS' MOTIONS IN LIMINE

         1. Plaintiffs' Motion in Limine 1 - DE 177 Reference to the AMUSA-100 terms and conditions. GRANTED. But the Court will allow Amex Nooter, if it wishes, to make an offer to prove at trial, outside the presence of the Jury. The Court reserves the right to reverse this in limine ruling following the offer to prove.

         2. Plaintiffs' Motion in Limine 2 - DE 179 Reference to spoliation of evidence. DENIED At trial Amex Nooter will be permitted to present evidence and argument that ArcelorMittal committed spoliation of evidence. See the January 23, 2018 Opinion and Order DE 247.

         3. Plaintiffs' Motion in Limine 3 - DE 180 Reference to ArcelorMittal's alleged failure to correct hazards with the natural gas system at Blast Furnace No. 3 DENIED.

         4. Plaintiffs' Motion in Limine 4 - DE 181 Reference to ArcelorMittal's alleged failure to properly perform lock out / tag out or ensure that it was performed. DENIED.

         5. Plaintiffs' Motion in Limine 5 - DE 185 Reference to ArcelorMittal's alleged inaccuracies in its energy control procedure creating a hazard. DENIED.

         6. Plaintiffs' Motion in Limine 6 - 187 Reference to the salamander heater as a hazard ArcelorMittal was allegedly responsible for eliminating. DENIED.

         7. Plaintiffs' Motion in Limine 7 - DE 190 Reference that ArcelorMittal allegedly created a hazard by keeping valves ...


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