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Spinnenweber v. Laducer

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

December 5, 2019

RICHARD SPINNENWEBER, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT LADUCER and RED RIVER SUPPLY INCORPORATED, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on a number of Motions in Limine [DE 168-180, 183, 184], each filed as a separate motion by Defendants on November 6, 2019. Plaintiff has not responded and the time to do so has passed. The Court notes that several other documents were titled Motions in Limine but are more properly understood to be motions to exclude expert testimony, and will be considered separately.

         I. Analysis

         A motion in limine will be granted Aonly when evidence is clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds.” Hawthorne Partners v. AT & T Techs., Inc., 831 F.Supp. 1398, 1400 (N.D. Ill. 1993); see also Dartey v. Ford Motor Co., 104 F.Supp.2d 1017, 1020 (N.D. Ind. 2000). Most evidentiary rulings will be resolved at trial in context, and this Aruling is subject to change when the case unfolds.” Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41-42 (1984). The Court considers each request in turn.

         A. Lay Opinions as to Medical Causation [DE 168]

         Defendants request that the Court exclude lay witnesses from testifying as to medical diagnoses, causes and effects of injuries, and other matters of medical science excluded as a lay person lacks the requisite training and knowledge to provide this type of testimony. See Fed. R. Evid. 701. Plaintiff has made no objection to this request, and it is therefore granted.

         B. Lay Testimony Regarding Injuries or Conditions Unsupported by Expert Testimony [DE 169]

         Defendants request that the Court exclude testimony of injuries or physical conditions for which an admissible expert has not expressed an opinion regarding the cause of that injury or condition. See Fed. R. Evid. 401, 402, 701. Plaintiff has not objected. Accordingly, no lay witness may testify at trial regarding injuries or symptoms of injuries that are not connected to the accident by expert testimony.

         C. Statements Regarding Punishing Defendants [DE 170]

         Defendants move for Plaintiff to be excluded from arguing that a jury verdict would or should punish or send a message to Defendants or society at large, since no punitive damages are being sought. Since a request for damages to send a message beyond making Plaintiff whole is inappropriate in a case for only compensatory damages, the request is granted. See Betts v. City of Chicago, 784 F.Supp.2d 1020, 1033 (N.D. Ill. 2011) (“Given that compensatory damages are limited to actual losses, this court agrees that [the plaintiff]'s argument that the jury should ‘send a message' is a punitive damages argument.”).

         D. Reference to Liability Insurance [DE 171]

         Defendants request that the Court exclude any reference to liability insurance. See Fed. R. Evid. 411. The request is granted and any mention of whether Defendants were insured is precluded.

         E. Reference to Prior Settlement Negotiations [DE 172]

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 408, any reference to settlement negotiations or statements made about the case ...


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