United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
ORDER ON MOTIONS
T. WINGATE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
this court are three motions filed by the Defendant Nissan
North America, Inc., (hereafter “Nissan”). The
first, [doc. no. 84], objects to and seeks
to have stricken portions of the deposition testimony of
Terrin Courtney from the summary judgment record. The second
motion, [doc. no. 90], is a motion in
limine, seeking to have excluded evidence and argument
“erroneously” suggesting a parent-subsidiary
relationship between the Defendants Nissan and Calsonic
Kansei North America, Inc., (hereafter
“Calsonic”). The final motion under consideration
here [doc. no. 91] is a second motion in
limine to exclude specific statements and testimony of Terrin
Courtney and related argument.
elucidation of the factual and procedural background of this
case is not necessary to the disposition of these three
motions. Such an account, however, is thoroughly presented in
this court's forthcoming “Opinion and Order on
Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion” and, thus,
will not be repeated here.
a wrongful discharge action brought by Michael Wayne McIntyre
(hereafter “McIntyre”) against his former
employer, Calsonic, and Nissan. Calsonic is a supplier for
Nissan with a location on-site at Nissan's manufacturing
plant in Canton, Mississippi. McIntyre initially accused
Nissan also of interfering with his employment relationship
with Calsonic. Plaintiff subsequently dismissed that claim,
alleged in his lawsuit that Calsonic is a subsidiary of
Nissan, a relationship which, if proven, would render Nissan
also liable for Plaintiff's wrongful discharge, according
to McIntyre. The statements and arguments that Nissan seeks
to exclude by these motions are statements that Plaintiff
says establish the existence of a parent-subsidiary
relationship between Nissan and Calsonic, or show that Nissan
exercised control over, or interference with Calsonic's
relationships with its employees, including McIntyre.
diversity action, the substantive laws of the State of
Mississippi apply. See, e.g., Times-Picayune
Pub. Corp. v. Zurich American Ins. Co., 421 F.3d 328,
334 (5th Cir. 2005) (citing Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304
U.S. 64 (1938)); Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Elec. Mfrg.
Co 313 U.S. 487, 496 (1941); See also Boardman v.
United Services Auto, Ass'n, 470 So.2d 1024, 1032
(Miss. 1985); Guaranty Nat. Ins. Co. v. Azcock
Industries, Inc., 211 F.3d 239, 243 (5th Cir.
Motion to Strike portions of Terrin Courtney's deposition
testimony from the Summary Judgment Record
argues that certain portions of the deposition testimony of
Terrin Courtney (hereafter “Courtney”) should not
be considered relative to the summary judgment motions.
Courtney is the Human Resources Senior Manager for Calsonic.
objects to two statements made by Courtney. The first is
Courtney's statement that “Nissan was our parent
company” Courtney Deposition at 13:18 [doc.
no. 70-5]. Courtney later explains the basis for her
statement. She says “[t]hey had ownership of us at that
time, a majority ownership.” Courtney
Deposition at 14:2-4 [doc. no.70-5]. Nissan says
Courtney has not been shown to be qualified to address the
corporate relationship between Calsonic and Nissan, because
she has not been shown to have any personal knowledge of
Calsonic's or Nissan's corporate structure. Says
Nissan, it is not competent summary judgment proof under
602 proclaims: “A witness may testify to a matter only
if evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding
that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter.
Evidence to prove personal knowledge may consist of the
witness's own testimony…” Courtney's
testimony provided support for her statement. Her testimony
was that she has been with Calsonic for nine years, that at
the time of McIntyre's termination she was Human
Resources Senior Manager with responsibility over multiple
facilities and reported directly to a vice president of the
company. Courtney Deposition at pp. 6-8 [doc.
no.70-5]. Courtney was a member of senior management, and had
worked at several of Calsonic's facilities around the
country. There is no reason to believe she was not familiar
with the corporate structure. Nissan has not shown that she
did not have this knowledge. The court is not willing to
strike this statement for purposes of the summary judgment
second statement objected to by Nissan is Courtney's
statement that “Nissan wasn't going to let him
[McIntyre] back in the building whether or not, you know, we
wanted him to.” Courtney Deposition at
10:11-13 [doc. no. 70-5]. Nissan contends this constitutes
irrelevant conjecture. Courtney was a member of senior
management, having authority to terminate, with human
resource responsibility for multiple facilities.
testified that she was the final decision-maker regarding
McIntyre's termination. She further testified that she
did not even need Calsonic's vice president to sign off
on her termination decisions, including McIntyre's
firing. Courtney Deposition at pp. 22-23 [doc.
no.70-5]. Additionally, she stated, over objection, that the
source of the information was an email from Human Resource
Manager, Kim Draga, to her. [doc. no. 70-16]. In this
wrongful termination case, this court is entitled to review
all of the steps and reasoning that went into the termination
decision. This court, accordingly, denies the motion to
strike for purposes of the summary judgment motion.