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Alvarez v. King County

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

July 27, 2017

MOISES E. PONCE ALVAREZ, Plaintiff,
v.
KING COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER.

          The Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Moises E. Ponce Alvarez's Motions in Limine, (Dkt. # 42) and Defendant King County's Motions in Limine, (Dkt. # 41). Having considered the briefs submitted by the parties, relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the parties' motions.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants, all King County Sheriff's deputies, used excessive force while arresting him on May 21, 2014, in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Dkt. # 1 at ¶¶ 5.1-5.6; 6.1-6.6. Discovery has closed, the dispositive motions deadline has passed, and trial is set for July 31, 2017.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Parties may file motions in limine before or during trial “to exclude anticipated prejudicial evidence before the evidence is actually offered.” Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 40 n.2 (1984). To resolve such motions, the Court is guided by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 401 and 403. Specifically, the Court considers whether evidence “has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence, ” and whether “the fact is of consequence in determining the action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. But the Court may exclude relevant evidence if “its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 403.

         I. MUTUALLY AGREED MOTIONS IN LIMINE

         1. The parties will not offer expert opinions that were not disclosed during discovery or that are otherwise improper.

         2. Defendants will not use or offer any documents regarding the Plaintiff that were not produced by the Defendants during discovery.

         3. The parties will not present exhibits that were not disclosed prior to trial in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(3).

         4. The parties will not reference any settlement or settlement communications and will redact any records that reflect settlement communications.

         5. Defendants will not present any evidence or make any references to any instances where Plaintiff was investigated, charged or convicted of a crime that is unrelated to the police conduct at issue in this case.

         6. The Defendants will not refer to any potential impact the verdict may have on them or on the public's safety.

         7. The Defendants will not present evidence regarding the “good character” or other “good” acts of the Defendants or any witnesses, unless the Plaintiff “opens the door” by placing the Defendants' or other witnesses' character at issue.

         8. Defendants will not reference Plaintiff's immigration status.

         9. The parties agree not to reference these motions in limine or any evidence that has been excluded.

         10. Defendants will not make any claim or suggestion that they will be personally liable for compensatory or punitive damages.

         11. The parties agree not to reference the Defendants' financial status, insurance or lack thereof.

         12. Plaintiff will not reference unrelated internal investigations or disciplinary actions involving Deputies Buchan, Bertaina, Hennessy or Price, unless Defendants “open the door” to impeachment.

         13. The parties agree not to refer to the “golden rule” or similar themes, whether directly or indirectly. This includes any argument that asks jurors to place themselves in the position of either party or to grant relief that they would feel entitled to if they were in the same position.

         14. Defendants will not reference Plaintiff's past drug or alcohol use unless Plaintiff “opens the door.” 15. Defendants will not reference or appeal ...


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