United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
K. Lee Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
L. COLLIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendants' fourth motion in
limine. (Doc. 92.) Plaintiff has responded. (Doc.
103.) Defendants have not replied.
move to preclude Plaintiff “from making arguments or
introducing evidence regarding the injuries that he allegedly
sustained or the cause of the injuries that he allegedly
sustained as a result of the allegations that are contained
in the Complaint.” (Doc. 92.) They specifically refer
to his deposition testimony that, as a result of
Defendants' actions, he has suffered from “colon
trauma, depression, flashbacks, headaches, malnutrition, and
a worsening of his mental health condition.” (Doc. 92
at 1-2 (citing Pl. Dep. at 100-04).) They note that Plaintiff
has not disclosed any medical providers on his witness list,
and that he accordingly has no expert testimony to offer
regarding medical conditions, diagnoses, or causation.
assert three grounds to exclude the evidence under the
Federal Rules of Evidence (the “Rules”): that it
is improper lay opinion testimony under Rule 701, that it is
not relevant under Rules 401 and 402, and that it should be
excluded under Rule 403.
Defendants argue it is improper for a lay person to testify
to suffering from a particular condition without a
corresponding diagnosis and expert testimony. They also argue
it is improper for a lay person to express an opinion on
causation of a condition, because that is a scientific or
technical issue on which expert testimony is necessary.
Plaintiff responds that lay witnesses may testify to their
own physical injuries, including when the injuries started or
worsened, if the injuries are typically observable by an
ordinary person. Plaintiff argues his injuries fall in this
category. Plaintiff also argues that a lay witness may
testify as to causation if it is within an ordinary
person's realm of knowledge.
701 states as follows regarding non-expert opinion testimony:
If a witness is not testifying as an expert, testimony in the
form of an opinion is limited to one that is:
(a) rationally based on the witness's perception;
(b) helpful to clearly understanding the witness's
testimony or to determining a fact in issue; and
(c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized
knowledge within the scope of Rule 702.
person may thus testify “from a process of reasoning
familiar in everyday life.” Harris v. J.B. Robinson
Jewelers, 627 F.3d 235, 240 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting
United States v. White, 492 F.3d 380, 401 (6th Cir.
2007)). The modern trend in applying Rule 701 “favors
the admission of opinion testimony, provided that it is well
founded on personal knowledge and susceptible to specific
cross-examination.” Id. (quoting United
States v. Valdez-Reyes, 165 F. App'x 387, 392 (6th
opinion testimony on a specific medical diagnosis may not be
admissible without proper expert support, but lay testimony
as to a plaintiff's symptoms generally is. See,
e.g., McDonald v. City of Memphis, No.
2:12-cv-2511, 2016 WL 8201168, at *5 (N.D. Ohio Sep. 22,
2014) (granting motion in limine as to lay testimony on
diagnosis requiring medical opinion, but denying motion on
plaintiffs' “testimony regarding their personal
observations about their emotional and mental health, as well
as any obvious physical conditions that were clearly caused
by” defendant's actions); Guthrie v. Ball,
No. 1:11-cv-333, 2014 WL 11581410, at *17 (granting motion in
limine as to “particular diagnosis of asthma or sleep
apnea” for plaintiff's decedent, but allowing a lay
witness's own observations of decedent's symptoms);
Kovacic v. Ponstingle, No. 1:05CV2746, 2014 WL
4715859, at *2 (N.D. Ohio Sep. 22, 2014) (“plaintiffs
may testify regarding their symptoms (and when they began) .
similar distinction occurs with regard to testimony on
causation. A plaintiff may testify as to when his or her
symptoms began, and may even testify regarding causation, if
that causation is within a lay person's realm of
knowledge; but a plaintiff may not testify as to causation
where technical or specialized testimony is necessary, such
as where there are multiple possible causes of an injury or
where specialized medical issues are involved. See,
e.g., Kovacic, 2014 WL 4715859, at *2-5 (N.D.
Ohio Sep. 22, 2014) (where multiple possible causes for
plaintiffs' mental-health injuries existed, plaintiffs
could “testify regarding their symptoms . . . but may
not testify to causation”); McDonald, 2016 WL
8201168, at *5 (agreeing with plaintiffs that they may
testify to “causation for injuries within the realm of
knowledge of a lay person, such as their black eyes, cuts,
scrapes, bruises, swelling, pain and chipped tooth, ”
but not as to causation of specific ...