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Goode v. City of Southaven

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

March 7, 2019

KELLI DENISE GOODE, Individually, and also as the Personal Representative of Troy Charlton Goode, Deceased, and as Mother, Natural Guardian, and Next Friend of R.G., a Minor, and also on behalf of all similarly situated persons PLAINTIFF
v.
THE CITY OF SOUTHAVEN, et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI

         This cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motions in limine [507] [509] [511] [513].

         Motion 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.” Harkness v. Bauhaus U.S.A., Inc., 2015 WL 631512, at *1 (N.D. Miss. Feb. 13, 2015) (internal citations omitted). When ruling upon motions in limine, the Court notes that “[e]vidence should not be excluded in limine unless it is clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds.” Id. Rulings on a motion in limine “are not binding on the trial judge, and the judge may always change his mind during the course of a trial.” Ohler v. United States, 529 U.S. 753, 758 n.3 (2000).

         A. Plaintiff's motion in limine [507] to preclude Defendants from offering or introducing collateral source evidence

         This motion, filed on June 6, 2018 by Kelli requests:

that counsel for Defendants, and through such counsel any and all Defendants' witnesses, be instructed by an Order of this Court to refrain from making any comments or suggestions to jurors in voire dire examination, opening statements or closing arguments, or by interrogation of Defendants' witnesses and statements of Defendants' witnesses, or cross-examination of Plaintiff and Plaintiff's witnesses, regarding collateral source evidence.

         On June 14, 2018, Defendant Oliver, filed a response in opposition. The Court finds that there appears to be a potential conflict of law regarding the collateral source rule that bears upon the determination of this motion. Thus, the parties must confer with one another regarding whether the Mississippi or Tennessee collateral source rule applies to this case. To the extent the parties can agree on which law controls, they should represent to the Court what that law is; to the extent the parties disagree on which law controls, they must brief the issue for the Court's determination.

         This motion [507] is DENIED without prejudice.

         B. Plaintiff's motion in limine [509] to preclude Defendants from offering or introducing evidence of prior drug use by friends of Troy Goode and that Troy Goode manufactured drugs

         In the instant motion, filed June 6, 2018, Kelli requests that counsel for Defendants, and through such counsel any and all Defendants' witnesses, be instructed by an Order of this Court to refrain from making any comments or suggestions to jurors in voire dire examination, opening statements or closing arguments, or by interrogation of Defendants' witnesses and statements of Defendants' witnesses, or cross-examination of Plaintiff and Plaintiff's witnesses, regarding prior drug use by any friends of Troy Goode who have been deposed in this cause. This motion also seeks to exclude any questions or arguments of defense counsel intimating that Troy Goode was a drug manufacturer.

         On June 14, 2018, Defendant Oliver filed a response in opposition.

         Several of Troy's friends were deposed about their drug use. Doc. #510 at 2. Kelli argues that such evidence must be excluded under Federal Rules of Evidence 401 and 402 or, alternatively, under Federal Rules of Evidence 403 or 404(a). Id. Regarding Rules 401 and 402, Kelli argues that “[a]bsent proof that there is a connection between Troy's death as a result of being hog-tied and the drug use of his friends (which there is none), the use of drugs by Troy's friends on occasions prior to the date of the incident is simply irrelevant to any issue in this proceeding ….” Id. Kelli argues “[i]n the alternative [that] questions regarding the prior drug use of those witnesses should be excluded as being confusing, misleading, and unfairly prejudicial” under Rule 403. Id. Lastly, Kelli contends that any such testimony “is inadmissible character evidence” under Rule 404(a). Id.

         While Oliver “does not intend to offer” evidence that Troy manufactured drugs, id. at 3, he argues that the motion should be denied in all other respects, id. at 1. Accordingly, the Court is left to assess whether this ...


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