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Pacheco v. Johnson

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

July 27, 2017

JOSE OSMIN CALDERON PACHECO, Plaintiff,
v.
WILL JOHNSON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          ALETAA. TRAUGER United States District Judge

         Pending before the court is Motion in Limine #1 As to Prejudicial Matters, filed by the plaintiff, Jose Osmin Calderon Pacheco (Docket No. 311), to which the defendant, Officer Will Johnson, has filed a Response in opposition (Docket No. 341). For the reasons discussed herein, the motion will be granted in part, denied in part, and partially reserved for resolution at the pretrial conference scheduled for July 28, 2017.

         BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This action arises from allegations that the defendant, while on duty as a police officer in Springfield, Tennessee, unreasonably used excessive force against the plaintiff, violating the plaintiff's constitutional rights and resulting in severe personal injury. On July 7, 2017, the plaintiff filed the pending motion, which effectively contains eight separate motions in limine. First, the plaintiff seeks to exclude the following seven categories of evidence on the grounds that this evidence is either irrelevant or that its relevance is outweighed by the potential prejudicial effect:

1) The plaintiff's immigration file, which the plaintiff indicates will include a) the fact that he gave authorities the false name Jose Zepeda upon entering the United States so that, in the event that he was deported, he might be able to be returned to Mexico rather than El Salvador, [1] and b) information about two DUI charges the plaintiff received prior to the incident giving rise to this action and an outstanding DUI arrest warrant (capias) in effect at the time of the incident, all of which had impacted his eligibility to remain in the United States legally;
2) All other evidence of the plaintiff's prior DUI charges and outstanding arrest warrant;
3) Evidence regarding the arrest of the plaintiff's wife, Raquel Calderon, on the day after the incident giving rise to this action, when she was charged with obstruction of an arrest for representing to officers that the plaintiff's name was “Jose Luis Zepeda” immediately following the incident;
4) Evidence that neither the plaintiff nor his wife had a valid driver's license at the time of the incident;
5) Evidence that the plaintiff had purchased and consumed alcohol on the night of the incident, prior to being approached by the defendant;
6) Evidence that medical expenses for the plaintiff's care were either paid by an insurer or were otherwise written off (under the collateral source rule); and
7) Evidence that the plaintiff was concerned about the potential expense of bail in the event that the plaintiff had been arrested by the defendant, as noted in the report issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (the “TBI Report”).

Finally, the plaintiff seeks an order that evidence regarding his acquittal on all criminal charges arising from the altercation between himself and the defendant is admissible.

         On July 17, 2017, the defendant filed a Response in opposition. (Docket No. 341.) The defendant concedes that he will not introduce evidence of the plaintiff's wife's arrest, though he argues that he should be permitted to introduce evidence that the plaintiff's wife informed officers that the plaintiff's name is “Jose Luis Zepeda” immediately following the incident. According to the defense, this evidence - along with the plaintiff's immigration file (showing he was no longer legally in the United States at the time of the incident), evidence of the plaintiff's history of DUI charges and outstanding DUI warrant, evidence that the plaintiff did not have a valid driver's license, evidence of the plaintiff's purchase and consumption of beer in a vehicle, and evidence from the TBI report that the plaintiff was concerned about the cost of bail if he were arrested - should all be admitted for the purpose of showing that the plaintiff had a motive to resist arrest. The defendant also concedes that he will not seek to introduce evidence of collateral sources, such as healthcare insurers, having paid any portion of the plaintiff's medical expenses, though the defendant has asked the court to limit evidence of the plaintiff's medical expenses to the amount that was accepted by the plaintiff's medical providers as payment in full. Finally, the defendant argues that evidence of the plaintiff's acquittal on all criminal charges related to the altercation between the plaintiff and the defendant should be excluded as irrelevant.

         LEGAL ...


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