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Locke v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC

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

November 14, 2019

TIFFANY LOCKE PLAINTIFF
v.
SWIFT TRANSPORTATION CO. OF ARIZONA, LLC and TEVIN J. DAVIS DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THOMAS B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiff Tiffany Locke's (“Locke”) Motions in Limine. [DN 54.] Defendants Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC and Tevin Davis, collectively (“Defendants”) have responded. [DN 66.] The time to reply has passed. As such this matter is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons that follow, Locke's Motions in Limine are GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I. Legal Standard

         Motions 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 at trial.”).

         II. Discussion

         1. Defendants should be precluded from introducing evidence of other physical and mental condition(s) of Plaintiff not related to the injuries received in this crash.

         Locke argues that any other medical conditions and treatment she has had in the past were not involved in this crash or her injuries. She further argues that evidence of these conditions or treatment are not relevant and Federal Rule of Evidence 402 prohibits irrelevant evidence. In response, Defendants assert that Locke has placed her mental and physical condition into issue and must prove that Defendants caused injury to Locke.

         The Court agrees with Defendants. There may be circumstances where Defendants can, in accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence, use other physical and mental conditions to combat causation. This issue cannot be resolved in its entirety prior to trial as the motion is too vague. The Court reserves the right to rule on the admissibility of certain evidence at trial.

         Therefore, Locke's motion in limine #1 is DENIED.

         2. Defendants should be precluded from any reference, argument, or the introduction of Plaintiff's medical records not relevant to the personal injury claim at issue.

         Here, Locke argues that Defendants should not reference or admit her medical records not pertaining to the injuries from the crash because they are not relevant. Again, the Court finds that medical records that combat causation are relevant. At this point, the Court cannot preclude all medical records because some may be relevant to the issues at hand. The Court again reserves the right to rule on the admissibility of certain evidence at trial. Therefore, Locke's motion in limine #2 is DENIED.

         3. Defendants should be precluded from making any reference to collateral sources.

         The collateral source rule “precludes courts from reducing a plaintiff's medical damages based on insurance payments made for [her] care, so long as the associated premiums were paid by the plaintiff [herself] or a third party other than the tortfeasor.” King Joseph X v. Liberty Mut. Grp., Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16512, *7 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 1, 2018). “Plaintiff may seek recovery for the reasonable value of medical services without consideration of insurance (or Medicare) payments. Fulcher v. United States, 88 F.Supp.3d 763, 774-775 (W.D. Ky. 2015). Defendants state that they do not intend to offer evidence on Locke's collateral source benefits. However, Defendants state that if Locke introduces medical bills to prove reasonable medical expenses, evidence that the amount actually charged WAS less is admissible. The Court disagrees.

         Although the amount charged on a bill may not be the amount charged to the payor this Court has found that evidence to be inadmissible. Dossett v. Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4515 *5 (W.D. Ky. Jan. ...


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