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Joan Cravens Inc. v. Deas Construction, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

January 18, 2017

JOAN CRAVENS, INC. JASON V. SMITH and BARBARA SMITH PLAINTIFFS
v.
DEAS CONSTRUCTION, INC., et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KEITH STARRETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion In Limine [244] filed by Defendant Deas Construction, Inc. (“Deas”), and joined by Defendant Weather Shield Manufacturing, Inc. (“Weather Shield”) (collectively “Defendants”), the Motion In Limine to Exclude Guillotine Reference (“Motion to Exclude Reference”) [248], Motion In Limine to Exclude Collective Reference to Plaintiffs and Defendants (“Motion to Exclude Collective Reference”) [250], and Motion In Limine to Prohibit Plaintiffs from Offering Expert Testimony by Lay Witnesses (“Motion to Prohibit”) [252] filed by Weather Shield and joined by Deas, and the Motion In Limine [254] and Motion for Leave to File Reply [263] filed by Plaintiffs Joan Cravens, Inc., and Jason and Barbara Smith (collectively “Plaintiffs”). After reviewing the submissions of the parties, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds the following:

1. Defendants' Motion In Limine [244] should be granted in part and denied in part;
2. Defendants' Motion to Exclude Reference [248] is not well taken and should be denied;
3. Defendants' Motion to Exclude Collective Reference [250] is not well taken and should be denied;
4. Defendants' Motion to Prohibit [252] should be granted in part and denied in part.
5. Plaintiffs' Motion In Limine [254] is not well taken and should be denied; and 6. Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Reply [263] should be denied as moot.

         I. DISCUSSION A. Defendants' Motion In Limine [244]

         1. Evidence that a corporation is bad, less sensitive, or more able to pay

         Defendants seek a general prohibition against “[a]ny implication can [sic] a corporation is inherently bad, less sensitive, or more able to pay damages.” (See Memo in Support [245] at p. 1.) Plaintiffs in response state that they do not anticipate using such evidence, but would argue that Defendants' proposed exclusion is overbroad and vague. They do not, however, object to “a specific order prohibiting testimony or arguments that corporations are inherently bad or have deep pockets.” (See Response [261] at p. 2.) Because the Court finds that this is a reasonable modification of Defendants' request, the Motion In Limine [244] will be granted in part and denied in part accordingly.[1]

         2. Argument regarding the comparative size, power, or wealth of parties

         Plaintiffs do not object to the exclusion of any argument regarding the comparative size, power, or wealth of the parties, and the Motion In Limine [244] will be granted as to this issue.

         3. “Golden Rule” arguments

         Plaintiffs do not object to the exclusion of so-called “Golden Rule” arguments, which would ask the jurors what they would expect Defendants do if they were in Plaintiffs' position. The Motion In Limine [244] will therefore be granted as to this issue as well.

         4. Non-expert testimony as to what Defendants should have done differently

         Defendants seek to exclude any non-expert testimony as to what they should have done differently in either their oral or written representations, arguing that such arguments would touch upon the standard of care to which window suppliers are held. They further argue that any ...


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