United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
GERRY L. BISHOP Plaintiff
DAVID A. ANDERSON, R&L TRANSFER, INC., R&L CARRIER SHARED SERVICES, LLC, and GREENWOOD MOTOR LINES, INC. Defendants
OPINION AND ORDER
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon multiple motions in limine
filed by the Defendants David Anderson, R&L Transfer,
Inc., R&L Carrier Shared Services, LLC, and Greenwood
Motor Lines, Inc. (R. 51-55). Plaintiff has responded. (R.
65). This matter is now ripe for adjudication. For the
following reasons, Defendants' Motion in Limine to Limit
the Description of the Subject Accident (R. 51) is DENIED IN
PART and GRANTED IN PART, and the rest of Defendants'
motions in limine are GRANTED.
semi-truck collided with Gerry Bishop's vehicle in Oak
Grove Kentucky in January of 2015 causing him various
injuries. (R. 1). Bishop brought a negligence suite against
the truck's driver, David Anderson, along with R&L
Transfer (the company that owns the truck), Greenwood Motor
Lines (the company that leases the truck from R&L
Transfer), and R&L Carrier Shared Services (the Company
that employed Anderson during the accident). (R. 1; R. 42).
All three companies are related business entities. The
Defendants do not dispute liability, leaving damages as the
sole issue for trial. (R. 47). The Defendants filed five
motions in limine. (R. 51-55). Bishop opposes three of them.
the inherent authority to manage the course of trials before
it, this Court may exclude irrelevant, inadmissible, or
prejudicial evidence through in limine rulings. See Luce
v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4 (1984) (citing
Fed.R.Evid. 103(c)); Louzon v. Ford Motor Co., 718
F.3d 556, 561 (6th Cir. 2013); Mahaney ex rel. Estate of
Kyle v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 835 F.Supp.2d 299, 303
(W.D. Ky. 2011). Unless such evidence is patently
“inadmissible for any purpose, ” Jonasson v.
Lutheran Child & Family Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440
(7th Cir. 1997), though, the “better practice” is
to defer evidentiary rulings until trial, Sperberg v.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 519 F.2d 708, 712 (6th
Cir. 1975), so that “questions of foundation, relevancy
and potential prejudice may be resolved in proper context,
” Gresh v. Waste Servs. of Am., Inc., 738
F.Supp.2d 702, 706 (E.D. Ky. 2010). A ruling in limine is
“no more than a preliminary, or advisory,
opinion.” United States v. Yannott, 42 F.3d
999, 1007 (6th Cir. 1994) (citing United States v.
Luce, 713 F.2d 1236, 1239 (6th Cir. 1983), aff'd,
469 U.S. 38). Consequently, the Court may revisit its in
limine rulings at any time and “for whatever reason it
deems appropriate.” Id. (citing Luce, 713 F.2d
Defendants filed five motions in limine (R.51-55), but Bishop
only opposes three: Defendants' Motions in Limine to
Limit the Description of the Subject Accident (R. 51),
Defendants' Motion in Limine as to Various Issues and
Evidence (R. 54), and Defendants' Motion in Limine to
Exclude Improper References to Defendants' Trial Counsel
or the Cost of Defendants' Defense. The Court will grant
the unopposed motions and address each opposed motion
Defendants' Motion in Limine to Limit the Description of
the Subject Accident
their Motion in Limine to Limit the Description of the
Subject Accident the Defendants move the Court for an order
prohibiting any potential testimony regarding the accident,
including how fast the semi-truck was going and whether it
slowed down prior to impact. (R. 51). Defendants also seek to
prohibit any testimony as to why the semi-truck was unable to
stop or slow prior to impact. (R.51). Defendants argue these
details are irrelevant because they conceded liability.
(R.51). They also point out that no accident
reconstructionist has been hired and Bishop has no scientific
evidence to establish the semi-truck's speed or whether
it braked prior to impact. (R.51).
responds simply that he, and his eyewitness to the collision,
should be permitted to describe the accident as they observed
it, including perceived speed and whether the vehicles were
braking prior to collision. (R. 65). The Court agrees.
potential testimony by Bishop or his eyewitness concerning
details of the accident, including how fast the semi-truck
was going or whether it braked, constitutes lay witness
opinion testimony governed by Rule 701. That Rule provides:
If a witness is not testifying as an expert, testimony in the
form of an opinion is limited to one that is:
(a) rationally based on the witness's perception;
(b) helpful to clearly understanding the witness's
testimony or to determining a fact in issue; and (c) not
based on scientific, technical, or other specialized