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Quinn v. Franzen Family Tractors and Parts LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division

March 16, 2018

TRAVIS QUINN, Individually and on behalf of his minor child, K.Q., and KELLY SCHLANGEN, on behalf of her minor child, W.Q., Plaintiffs,
v.
FRANZEN FAMILY TRACTORS AND PARTS, LLC, Defendant.

          SECOND ORDER ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE

          C.J. Williams Chief United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Second Motion in Limine (Doc. 32) and Plaintiffs' First Motion in Limine. (Doc. 35). Each party filed responses to the other party's motion. (Docs. 38 and 39). The Court discussed the issues raised in the motions with the parties during the Final Pretrial Conference on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

         For the reasons that follow, and based in part upon positions taken by the parties in their responses and during the Final Pretrial Conference, the Court grants in part, denies in part, and holds in abeyance in part the parties' motions in limine.

         II. DEFENDANT'S SECOND MOTION IN LIMINE

         In its Second Motion in Limine, defendant seeks an order in limine on three separate issues. The Court will address each in turn.

         A. Dr. Patrick Hartley

         Defendant seeks an order in limine barring plaintiffs from introducing evidence from plaintiffs' non-treating medical expert, Dr. Patrick Hartley, on matters defendant asserts were not part of Dr. Hartley's report and were not disclosed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26. (Doc. 32, at 2-4). Plaintiffs disagree, but nevertheless indicated in their response that they have redacted portions of Dr. Hartley's videotaped deposition and that this portion of defendant's motion is therefore moot. (Doc. 39, at 1-2). During the Final Pretrial Conference, defense counsel concurred that the parties have worked this issue out. Therefore, the Court denies as moot this portion of defendant's Second Motion in Limine.

         B. Testimony of Skogen Engineering Group Witnesses

         Defendant moves for an order in limine barring testimony by either Dennis Skogen or Zach Bingen, both employees of Skogen Engineering Group. (Doc. 32, at 4). Defendant anticipates that these witnesses will present cumulative testimony regarding liability issues. (Id.). Plaintiffs resist, asserting that there may be some “slight overlap in their testimony, ” but that “Mr. Bingen's testimony will primarily focus on measurements and observations he made during the inspections, and Mr. Skogen's testimony will primarily, although not exclusively, address the opinions formed based on those measurements and observations.” (Doc. 39, at 2).

         The Court holds in abeyance its ruling on this portion of defendant's motion in limine. Based on plaintiffs' representation, it does not appear that they will present testimony that is so cumulative as to violate Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, but the Court is unable to determine that in advance of trial. Therefore, defendant may object during trial if defendant believes the testimony is cumulative and the Court will rule on the objection at that time.

         C. Charts, Calculations, and Reports of Economist Kent Jayne

         Defendant moves for an order in limine barring admission of “any calculations, charts, or reports from Plaintiffs' economist Kent Jayne, ” contained in Exhibits 29-35, on the ground that it would be cumulative of his testimony. (Doc. 32, at 4). Plaintiffs resist, arguing that the calculations and reports will be used to assist the jury in understanding Mr. Jayne's testimony. (Doc. 39, at 3). During the Final Pretrial Conference, defense counsel elaborated on this matter, asserting that defendant also objects to these charts and diagrams on the ground that the calculations and opinions reflected particularly in Exhibits 32 - 35 contain speculation and are without evidentiary foundation. For example, defendant argues that the exhibits include such things as estimates of loss income if plaintiff Travis Quinn were never able to work again, and defendant argues there will be no evidence that his injury would cause him to be unemployed.

         The Court denies defendant's motion on the cumulative evidence argument advanced by defendant in its motion, but reserves ruling on the additional speculation-type grounds defendant articulated during the Final Pretrial Conference. Defendant may object, when appropriate, to any testimony or exhibits from Mr. Jayne that defendant believes constitutes speculation or is without adequate foundation and the Court will rule on any such objection ...


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