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Dykes v. Cleveland Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

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

June 5, 2018

DANNY DYKES, Individually and on behalf of the Estate and Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of James A. Dykes, Deceased PLAINTIFF
v.
CLEVELAND NURSING & REHABILITATION CENTER; and JOHN AND JANE DOES I-X DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This medical malpractice action is before the Court for consideration of Danny Dykes' motion in limine. Doc. #103.

         I Procedural History

         On April 20, 2015, Danny Dykes filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Bolivar County, Mississippi, individually and on behalf of the estate and wrongful death beneficiaries of James A. Dykes, deceased, against Cleveland Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and “John and Jane Does I-X.” Doc. #2. In his complaint, Danny alleges that James died as a result of negligence while a patient at the defendant's nursing home facility. Id. at ¶¶ 7-8, 12. Cleveland Nursing subsequently removed the state action to this Court on the ground of diversity jurisdiction. Doc. #1 at ¶ 4.

         On May 9, 2018, following a period of discovery and two unsuccessful motions to compel arbitration by Cleveland Nursing, Danny filed a motion in limine. Doc. #103. Cleveland Nursing responded in opposition to the motion. Doc. #109. Danny did not reply.

         II 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) (quotation marks and citations omitted).

         III Analysis

         Danny's motion in limine seeks to exclude from trial: (1) evidence related to his June 22, 2009, conviction for statutory rape; and (2) collateral source payment information related to the care of James.

         A. 2009 Conviction

         Federal Rule of Evidence 609(a) allows a party to “attack[] a witness's character for truthfulness by evidence of a criminal conviction.” If the conviction is for a crime punishable “in the convicting jurisdiction … by death or by imprisonment for more than one year, ” the conviction is admissible “subject to Rule 403.” Fed.R.Evid. 609(a)(1). If, however, the conviction is for a crime for which “the court can readily determine that establishing the elements of the crime required proving-or the witness's admitting-a dishonest act or false statement[, ]” the conviction is admissible without regard to Rule 403. Id. at 609(a)(2). Danny argues that evidence of his conviction must be excluded as unduly prejudicial under Rule 403.

         Courts which have considered the issue have noted the high degree of prejudice likely to arise from the introduction of a statutory rape conviction and have concluded that a party seeking to use such a conviction under Rule 609(a) may introduce evidence that the witness was convicted of a felony but not evidence that the felony was statutory rape. See, e.g., McCorvey v. Ala. River Cellulose, LLC, No. 13-118, 2014 WL 5528219, at *2-3 (S.D. Ala. Nov. 3, 2014); Sedney v. Blot, No. 00-Civ-1302, 2003 WL 22839801, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 1, 2003). These holdings are consistent with the rule that “rape convictions are not generally probative of credibility.” Bibbins v. City of Baton Rouge, 489 F.Supp.2d 562, 586 (M.D. La. 2007) (citing Christmas v. Sanders, 759 F.2d 1284, 1292 (7th Cir. 1985)). Finding the reasoning of these courts persuasive, this Court concludes that Cleveland Nursing is entitled to introduce evidence that Danny was convicted of a felony in 2009 but may not introduce evidence as to the type of conviction.

         B. Collateral Source Payments

         Danny seeks to preclude evidence of collateral source payments of medical expenses. Cleveland Nursing, citing Mississippi law, argues that such evidence is ...


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