United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
MELISSA A. MORRIS Plaintiff
ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL. Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge.
matters are before the Court on Defendant's, Zurich
American Insurance Company (“Zurich”), and
Plaintiff's, Melissa A. Morris (“Morris”),
respective motions in limine. (R. 75; R. 82). Zurich and
Morris have responded (R. 83; R. 86). These matters are now
ripe for adjudication. Each motion will be addressed in turn.
was injured in an automobile accident on September 18, 2008.
(R. 1). In July of 2016, she sued Zurich alleging bad faith
concerning its handling of her claim. (R. 1). With the trial
date approaching, both Zurich and Morris have filed motions
in limine. (R. 75; R. 82).
in limine provided in advance of trial are appropriate if
they eliminate evidence that has no legitimate use at trial
for any purpose. Jonasson v. Lutheran Child & Family
Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir.1997); Bouchard
v. Am. Home Products Corp., 213 F.Supp.2d 802, 810
(N.D.Ohio 2002) (“The court has the power to exclude
evidence in limine only when evidence is clearly inadmissible
on all potential grounds.” (citing Luce v. United
States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n. 4, 105 S.Ct. 460, 83 L.Ed.2d
443 (1984))). Only where the evidence satisfies this high bar
should the court exclude it; if not, “rulings [on
evidence] should be deferred until trial 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) (quoting
Ind. Ins. Co. v. GE, 326 F.Supp.2d 844, 846
(N.D.Ohio 2004)). Even if a motion in limine is denied, the
court may revisit the decision at trial when the parties have
more thoroughly presented the disputed evidence. See
Id. (“Denial of a motion in limine does not
guarantee that the evidence will be admitted at trial, and
the court will hear objections to such evidence as they arise
Court will start with Zurich's motion, and then proceed
to Morris's. (R. 77; R. 82).
Zurich's Motion in Limine
Zurich American's Financial Condition
argues that any mention of its financial condition should be
excluded pursuant to longstanding Kentucky precedent. (R. 77
ID # 992). Morris argues that Zurich's financial
condition is relevant to her bad faith claims, which involve
punitive damages. (R. 86 ID # 1180). The Court agrees with
Zurich. Hamilton v. CSX Transp., Inc., 208 S.W.3d
272, 280 (Ky. Ct. App. 2006) (“Our courts have long
held that evidence of a party's financial status should
be excluded at trial because of the danger of prejudice that
such evidence creates.”); Nami Res. Co., L.L.C. v.
Asher Land & Mineral, L.T.D., Nos.
2015-SC-000489-DG, 2016-SC-000235-DG, 2018 Ky. LEXIS 353, at
*30 (Aug. 16, 2018) (citing Hardaway Management Co. v.
Southerland, 977 S.W.2d 910, 916, 4512 Ky. L. Summary 23
(Ky. 1998) (“It has been the law of this Commonwealth
for almost one hundred years that in an action for punitive
damages, the parties may not present evidence or otherwise
advise the jury of the financial condition of either side of
the litigation.”)). Thus, any mention of Zurich's
financial condition is excluded.
Time-Value of Tort Settlement Proceeds
concedes that under Kentucky law, a plaintiff alleging bad
faith may recover what the settlement proceeds would have
earned during the time they were withheld. (R. 77 ID # 992).
But Zurich contends that to do so, such damages must first be
proven through an expert. (R. 77 ID # 992). Because Morris,
has no such expert, Zurich argues to exclude all evidence and
argument regarding such damages. (R. 77 ID # 992). In
response, Morris asserts that she is entitled to the
statutory rate of interest for the time during which her
settlement was withheld as prescribed by KRS 304.12-235
and/or KRS 360.040. (R. 86 ID # 1180). The Parties'
arguments are premature. This issue will be addressed by the
Court if Morris should prevail on her bad faith claim. At
that time, if such a time occurs, the Court will determine
the appropriate interest rate and amount.