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Farlough v. Huskic

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

July 5, 2017

CHRISTINA FARLOUGH, as Administrator of the Estate of Randall Sharp, Plaintiff,
v.
AVDIJA HUSKIC, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DAVID J. HALE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Randall Sharp died in a tractor-trailer accident involving Defendant Avdija Huskic, an employee of Defendant FE Express, LLC. Plaintiff Christina Farlough, as administrator of Sharp's estate, alleges that Huskic negligently caused Sharp's death. (Docket No. 1-4, PageID # 25) The matter is set for trial on July 31, 2017. (D.N. 45) Huskic and FE Express have filed motions in limine seeking to exclude certain evidence that may be offered by Farlough. (D.N. 50) For the reasons explained below, the motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Motion to Exclude Earnings Documentation

         The defendants first move to exclude documents identified by Farlough as evidence of Sharp's earnings: a Social Security earnings report and 1099s, a spreadsheet, and an employment contract from Sharp's employer, MB Global Logistics, Inc. (D.N. 50, PageID # 161-70) With respect to the MB Global documents, the defendants' motion is premised on the assumption that no corporate representative will be present at trial to authenticate and introduce them. (Id., PageID # 165) Farlough concedes that without authentication by an MB Global representative, the documents are inadmissible, but she notes that the necessary “foundation may yet be laid at trial.” (D.N. 51, PageID # 349) The Court will therefore defer ruling as to the MB Global documents.

         With respect to the Social Security earnings report, Farlough maintains that no witness is necessary. (Id., PageID # 347-78) Pointing to the defendants' acknowledgment that the report “is authenticated as a public record under FRE 901(7), ” Farlough argues that the document is admissible under the public-records exception to the hearsay rule. (D.N. 50, PageID # 163; see D.N. 51, PageID # 348) Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 803(8), “[a] record or statement of a public office” is not excluded by the rule against hearsay if

(A) it sets out:
(i) the office[']s activities;
(ii) a matter observed while under a legal duty to report . . .; or
(iii) in a civil case . . ., factual findings from a legally authorized investigation; and
(B) the opponent does not show that the source of information or other circumstances indicate a lack of trustworthiness.

Fed. R. Evid. 803(8). Farlough asserts that the Social Security document at issue here is admissible under Rule 803(8)(A)(i) because “recording the reported earnings of an individual, such as Mr. Sharp, is part of the duties of the [Social Security Administration].” (D.N. 51, Page ID # 347) But the document does not “set[] out . . . the [SSA's] activities”; rather, as the defendants observe, it is merely “a summary of information reported by employers.”[1] (D.N. 50, PageID # 163) In other words, “the information [contained in the report] was not generated by the SSA” (id.) and does not reflect actions taken by the SSA. The report will therefore be excluded pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 802.

         II. Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony

         Farlough agrees that the defendants' motion to exclude expert testimony may be granted with respect to all but one of her disclosed experts: Avdija Huskic. (D.N. 51, PageID # 349-50) Farlough maintains that she “is entitled to qualify Mr. Huskic as an expert” notwithstanding his status as an adverse party. (Id.) She cites no authority in support of this contention, and the Court is aware of none.

         In her expert disclosures, Farlough simply stated that Huskic “is expected to testify concerning the underlying collision and his observations, his actions immediately prior to, during, and after the accident, and to testify regarding his specialized knowledge obtained through his experience as a truck driver, including standards of safe trucking.” (D.N. 35, PageID # 125) This brief, nonspecific description does not satisfy Rule 26's requirement of “a summary of the facts and opinions to which the witness is expected to testify.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(C)(ii). Thus, as an initial matter, ...


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