United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
STEPHANIE C. SHENG, ALEX SHENG, Plaintiffs,
WILLIAM A. BISSONNETTE, Defendant. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Intervenor Defendant.
ORDER ON MOTIONS TO EXCLUDE EXPERT TESTIMONY (ECF
NOS. 71 & 73)
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE
matter is set for trial on September 30, 2019. Intervening
Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
(State Farm), by counsel, filed its Motion to Exclude Expert
Testimony, which requests that this Court exclude the
testimony of Plaintiff's chiropractic providers that goes
beyond the scope of chiropractic practice and causally
connects the Plaintiff's medical issues with the subject
accident. Defendant Bissonnette also moves to exclude the
chiropractors' testimony and joins State Farm's
arguments in full. The Court, having considered said Motions,
now finds that the Motions should be DENIED,
without prejudice, with opportunity for leave to refile when
the relevant facts are further developed.
Stephanie and Alex Sheng demand judgment for medical
expenses, lost wages, and damages for alleged personal
injuries suffered by Stephanie Sheng resulting from an
automobile accident with the Defendant, William Bissonnette.
(ECF No. 5, First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 3-7.) State Farm
intervened in this action and moved to exclude or limit
testimony by three of the Plaintiffs' witnesses,
chiropractors hired to treat Stephanie Sheng's alleged
injuries: Carolyn Fancher, D.C.; Darcy Fox, D.C.; and Merry
Harris, D.C. State Farm alleges these witnesses' records
discuss medical issues. (See ECF No. 72 at 2, Mem.
Supp. Intervening Def.'s Mot. Suppress Expert Test.
(hereinafter Def.'s Mem.).) Consequently, State Farm
believes these witnesses may testify regarding such issues
beyond their area of expertise. Id. However, the
testimony by the relevant witnesses has not yet been taken.
Ruling on Motions in Limine
in the district court's inherent authority to manage
trials is the broad discretion to rule on motions in
limine. See Jenkins v. Chrysler Motors Corp.,
316 F.3d 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2002). A ruling on a motion
in limine is interlocutory. See Clarett v.
Roberts, 657 F.3d 664, 669-71 (7th Cir. 2011). A
district court may adjust a motion in limine during
the course of a trial. See Farfaras v. Citizens Bank
& Tr. of Chi., 433 F.3d 558, 565 (7th Cir. 2006)
(citing Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41-42
(1984)). A pre-trial ruling denying a motion in
limine does not automatically mean that all evidence
contested in the motion will be admitted at trial. See
United States v. Connelly, 874 F.2d 412, 416 (7th Cir.
1989) (citing Luce, 469 U.S. at 41) (“Indeed,
even if nothing unexpected happens at trial, the district
judge is free, in the exercise of sound judicial discretion,
to alter a previous in limine ruling.”).
Unless evidence clearly is not admissible for any purpose at
the time of a motion in limine, final evidentiary
rulings should be deferred until trial so questions of
foundation, relevancy, and potential prejudice may be
resolved in context. See United States v. Lopez, 161
F.Supp.3d 660, 662 (S.D. Ind. 2015); Hawthorne Partners
v. AT&T Techs., Inc., 831 F.Supp. 1398, 1400 (N.D.
Admission of Expert Testimony
Rule of Evidence 702 and the principles set forth in
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509
U.S. 579 (1993), govern the admission of expert testimony in
federal courts, even in diversity cases. C.W. ex rel.
Wood v. Textron, Inc., 807 F.3d 827, 834 (7th Cir.
2015). Rule 702 provides, in relevant part:
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education may testify in the form of
an opinion or otherwise, if:
a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to
understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles or
d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods
to the ...