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Dodd v. Simmons

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division

March 23, 2015

WALTER EARL DODD, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JERRY SIMMONS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

WILLIAM J. HAYNES, Jr., Senior District Judge.

Before the Court are the parties' motions in limine that are addressed in seriatim:

1. Defendant Simmons' Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Pamela Simmons' Alford Plea and Judicial Diversion

In this motion (Docket Entry No. 188), Defendant Jerry Simmons seeks to exclude evidence concerning Pamela Simmons' Alford plea and grant of judicial diversion in State of Tennessee v. Pamela G. Simmons, Hickman County Circuit Court No. 12-5062-CR. Plaintiff filed a response in opposition. (Docket Entry No. 218).

Plaintiff contends that such evidence is admissible as an admission against interest.[1] The hearsay exception, under Fed.R.Evid. 804, for statements against interest requires the declarant to be unavailable. Here, nothing in the record reflects that Pamela Simmons is unavailable to testify at trial. Moreover, evidence of her Alford plea and grant of judicial diversion is irrelevant to this action under Fed.R.Evid. 401, and any probative value of such evidence would be substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice. Fed.R.Evid. 403. Accordingly, the motion is granted.

2. Defendant Simmons' Motion to Present Plaintiff's Handgun at Trial

In this motion (Docket Entry No. 190), Defendant Simmons seeks permission from the Court to present Plaintiff's handgun and holster at trial for demonstrative purposes. Plaintiff filed a response in opposition (Docket Entry No. 219) contending that such evidence should be excluded under Fed.R.Evid. 403, as the probative value of such evidence is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice and confusion.

Whether Plaintiff possessed his handgun during the incident giving rise to this action is a relevant factual inquiry for the jury to decide in determining whether Plaintiff was wrongfully arrested. The Court concludes that the probative value of presenting Plaintiff's handgun and holster for demonstrative purposes does not substantially outweigh a danger of unfair prejudice or confusion. Accordingly, the motion is granted pending approval by the United States Marshal Service.

3. Defendants' Renewed Joint Motions in Limine #1 and #2

Pursuant to their notice of renewal (Docket Entry No. 191), Defendants renew their joint motion in limine #1 (Docket Entry No. 84) and joint motion in limine #2 (Docket Entry No. 86).

Defendants' joint motion in limine #1 (Docket Entry No. 84) seeks to exclude evidence that Plaintiff lost his employment with the City of Franklin as speculative and irrelevant under Fed.R.Evid. 402. In response, Plaintiff filed a renewal (Docket Entry No. 217) of its previously filed response in opposition (Docket Entry No. 123).

The extent to which a causal connection exists between the alleged wrongful acts at issue in this action and Plaintiff's subsequent loss of employment is an issue of fact for the jury. Thus, Plaintiff may introduce relevant, admissible evidence to establish this causal connection. Accordingly, this motion is denied without prejudice to renew in the context of trial.

Defendants' joint motion in limine #2 (Docket Entry No. 86) seeks to exclude evidence of Plaintiff's damage claims for lost wages and medical expenses for failure to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(iii). In response, Plaintiff renews (Docket Entry No. 217) his previously filed response in opposition (Docket Entry No. 122), contending that Defendants possessed all necessary information to calculate damages and any failure to provide such information was harmless.

Plaintiff's response, originally filed on October 11, 2013, reflects that Plaintiff supplemented his Rule 26(a)(1) disclosure (Docket Entry No. 191-1) to provide specific damage amounts claimed as a result of lost wages and medical expenses. After Plaintiff's supplementation, Defendants did not file a motion to compel or motion requesting additional discovery in light of Plaintiff's supplemental disclosure. Accordingly, the Court concludes that any failure to disclose specific damage totals in Plaintiff's original Rule 26 disclosure is harmless. See Vaughn v. City of Lebanon, 18 Fed.App'x 252, 264 (6th Cir. 2001) (noting that "the advisory committee's note to Rule 37(c) strongly ...


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