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Easton v. Asplundh Tree Experts Co.

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

March 13, 2018

BRITTANY EASTON, Plaintiff,
v.
ASPLUNDH TREE EXPERTS, CO., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS IN LFMINE

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Motions In Limine. Dkt. #56. Defendant does not oppose several of Plaintiff s motions, but opposes others. Dkts. #56 and #58. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court now GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Plaintiffs Motions In Limine.

         II. 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, 105 S.Ct. 460, 83 L.Ed.2d 443 (1984). To resolve such motions, the Court is guided by Fed.R.Evid. 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.

         III. DISCUSSION

         1. Attorney-Conducted Voir Dire

         In her first Motion In Limine, Plaintiff seeks an Order allowing one hour of attorney-conducted voir dire. Dkt. #56 at 2. As discussed at the Pretrial Conference, it is this Court's typical practice to allow attorneys to conduct voir dire. However, the Court will not allow an hour for each party. Instead, the Court will allow the parties 30 minutes each. Accordingly, this motion is DENIED AS MOOT.

         2. Exclusion of Defense of Reasonable Reporting Policies and Failure to Report

         Plaintiff next seeks an Order excluding any Faragher-Ellerth defense on the basis that Defendant failed to plead such an affirmative defense in its Answer to the Complaint. Dkt. #56 at 2-3. Defendant asserts that it is not relying on such a defense; however, it asserts that the facts underlying such a defense are relevant because they rebut claims of a hostile work environment. Dkt. #58 at 2-4. The Court agrees that the subject testimony is relevant and probative to the issue of vicarious liability. Accordingly, the Court DENIES this motion.

         3. Evidence of Collective Bargaining Agreement

         Plaintiff next moves to exclude the introduction of, or any reference to, a Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") in this matter, on the basis that it is inadmissible hearsay and irrelevant. Dkt. #56 at 4. Defendant responds that the CBA is relevant to explaining the corrective action it took with respect to Mr. Mell, and that it should be allowed to reference the CBA for that purpose. Dkt. #58 at 5-6. However, Defendant does not object to excluding the CBA as an exhibit. Id. The Court agrees with Defendant that references to the CBA are relevant to the issue of corrective action, and satisfy the governing Rules of Evidence. Accordingly, this motion is DENIED, except to the extent that neither party will introduce the CBA as an exhibit.

         4. Plaintiff's Medical Bills and Records

         Plaintiff next moves to exclude Plaintiffs medical records and bills unless such evidence is introduced through a competent medical expert. Dkt. #56 at 4-7. Defendant responds that the records are relevant to its damages defense, that Plaintiff has put her mental health condition at issue in this matter, and that both the medical and expert witnesses expected to testify at trial are qualified to introduce and discuss the records. Dkt. #58 at 6-9. However, Defendant does not object to the exclusion of medical bills. Id. at 9. For the reasons discussed by Defendant, the Court agrees that ...


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