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Marsha Elliott v. Target Corporation

May 16, 2013

MARSHA ELLIOTT,
PLAINTIFF(S),
v.
TARGET CORPORATION, DEFENDANT(S).



ORDER

Presently before the court is defendant's motion in limine to preclude plaintiff's claim for lost income. (Doc. # 42). There is no response.

Also before the court is defendant's motion in limine to limit plaintiff's claim for past damages. (Doc. # 43). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition. (Doc. # 47).

Also before the court is defendant's motion in limine to preclude plaintiff's claim for future damages. (Doc. # 44). There is no response.

Also before the court is defendant's motion in limine to exclude all references and/or statements that defendant is avoiding responsibility for the subject incident. (Doc. # 45). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition. (Doc. # 49).

Also before the court is defendant's motion in limine to limit evidence and argument regarding duty and breach. (Doc. # 46). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition. (Doc. # 48). . . . . ..

I. Legal Standard

"Although the Federal Rules of Evidence do not explicitly authorize in limine rulings, the practice has developed pursuant to the district court's inherent authority to manage the course of trials." Luce v. U.S., 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4 (1980). Judges have broad discretion when ruling on motions in limine. See Jenkins v. Chrysler Motors Corp., 316 F.3d 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2002); see also Trevino v. Gates, 99 F.3d 911, 922 (9th Cir. 1999) ("The district court has considerable latitude in performing a Rule 403 balancing test and we will uphold its decision absent clear abuse of discretion").

"[I]n limine rulings are not binding on the trial judge [who] may always change his mind during the course of a trial." Ohler v. United States, 529 U.S. 753, 758 n.3 (2000); accord Luce, 469 U.S. at 41 (noting that in limine rulings are always subject to change, especially if the evidence unfolds in an unanticipated manner). "Denial of a motion in limine does not necessarily mean that all evidence contemplated by the motion will be admitted at trial. Denial merely means that without the context of trial, the court is unable to determine whether the evidence in question should be excluded." Indiana Ins. Co. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 326 F. Supp.2d 844, 846 (N.D. Ohio 2004).

II. Discussion

The court will address each of the arguments in turn. Additionally, the court will address only the facts necessary to resolve the instant motions in limine.

A. MIL # 1

Defendant seeks an order precluding plaintiff from presenting any claim for lost income. Defendant argues that plaintiff's claim is speculative in nature, plaintiff has no evidence to demonstrate the amount of lost income sustained, and plaintiff did not designate an expert to offer any opinions as to the amount of lost income.

At the time of the incident, plaintiff worked for Southwest Airlines as a flight attendant. Plaintiff asserts that she missed 1,226 hours of work, which resulted in lost wages of over $70,000. Additionally, plaintiff asserts she lost company 401(k) matches of approximately $11,000. . . .

Plaintiff earns pay based on the miles she flies, not on hours worked. Defendant essentially argues that there is no direct evidence of the amount of miles plaintiff would have flown, and, in turn, the amount of income she would have received from those miles. Defendant also argues that plaintiff's income never reached $70,000 as a flight attendant, so plaintiff can not argue that $70,000 is the amount of her lost income. Finally, defendant argues that the jury would not be able to do the ...


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