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Kaiva, LLC v. Parker

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division

April 6, 2017

KAIVA, LLC PLAINTIFF
v.
MICHAEL PARKER and DEBRA PARKER DEFENDANTS

          ORDER ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE

          Debra M. Brown UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are two motions in limine filed by Michael Parker and Debra Parker, Doc. #59; Doc. #60;[1] to which Kaiva, LLC, responded in opposition.[2]

         I In Limine Standard

         “The purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the trial court to rule in advance of trial on the admissibility and relevance of certain forecasted evidence. Evidence should not be excluded in limine unless it is clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds.” Harkness v. Bauhaus U.S.A., Inc., No. 3:13-cv-129, 2015 WL 631512, at *1 (N.D. Miss. Feb. 13, 2015) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

         II Patel Comment

         The Parkers seek to exclude at trial any reference to the comment Michael Parker made in his December 3, 2016, deposition that “a Patel is a Patel is a Patel.” Doc. #59 at 2. Specifically, they argue that, under Federal Rule of Evidence 403, the comment is unfairly prejudicial because it “would be taken as derogatory towards a particular ethnic group.” Id. at 2.

         Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence provides:

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.

         “[O]nly unfair prejudice, substantially outweighing probative value … permits exclusion of relevant matter under Rule 403.” United States v. Barnes, 803 F.3d 209, 221 (5th Cir. 2015) (quoting United States v. Pace, 10 F.3d 1106, 1115 (5th Cir. 1993)).

         Kaiva responds that the comment is supposed to show Michael's “reluctance” to deal with “Indian-American” franchisees. Doc. #56 at 1. Kaiva argues that such is of consequence because the parties agreed to sell the subway franchise Kaiva operated to a third party and, in an attempt to consummate that agreement, Kaiva referred several “Indian-Americans” to the Parkers as potential buyers but the sale never occurred.

         The Parkers fail to address the probative value of the proffered comment as argued by Kaiva and thus do not address whether any unfair prejudicial effect it may cause substantially outweighs any probative value it may have as required for exclusion under Rule 403. Accordingly, the Court cannot conclude that the comment is clearly inadmissible on all grounds. Therefore, the motion to exclude the Patel comment will be denied.

         III Skimming Reference

         Defendants also seek to exclude at trial “any reference to the unsupported accusation by WREG News, or anyone else, that Defendant Michael Parker was fired from his job … for skimming money.” Doc. #60 at 2-3. In response, Kaiva concedes that neither the WREG News broadcast itself nor the challenged accusations contained within the broadcast are relevant.[3] As such, Kaiva represents that it will not seek to introduce the accusations contained within that news broadcast or those same accusations made anywhere else. Defendants' motion on this subject will therefore be denied as moot.

         IV ...


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