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Schwartz v. Clark County

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 4, 2018

MARK J. SCHWARTZ, Plaintiffs,
v.
CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Presently before the court are three motions in limine filed by defendant Clark County, Nevada (“Clark County”). (ECF Nos. 89-91). Plaintiff Mark J. Schwartz (“Schwartz” or “plaintiff”) responded. (ECF Nos. 95-97).

         Also before the court is Schwartz's motion to quash Clark County's designation of persons most knowledgeable to serve as witnesses at trial. (ECF No. 88). Clark County filed a response (ECF No. 93), to which Schwartz replied (ECF No. 94).

         I. Facts

         The instant action involves allegations of wrongful termination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). (ECF No. 2-2).

         Plaintiff began working for Clark County as an auditor on August 17, 1992. (ECF No. 71-1 at 12). In 2000, plaintiff was promoted to senior management analyst in the Clark Country Business License Department (“BL”). (ECF No. 71-1 at 13). In either 2007 or 2008, plaintiff received an ADA workplace accommodation to adjust the size of his workplace. (ECF No. 71-1 at 19). From 2005-09, plaintiff received regular, positive employment evaluations noting his “meritorious” and “exemplary” performance. (ECF No. 71-1 at 16-18).

         In 2008, Clark County Human Resources (“HR”) began to review whether the job title, management analyst, was an appropriate classification and conducted a county-wide “management analyst study” in which plaintiff participated and completed a “job description questionnaire.” (ECF No. 71-1 at 20, 45). Subsequently, in August 2009, HR recommended seventeen (17) possible job title changes for forty-four (44) employees recognized as management analysts. (ECF No. 71-1 at 45-46). Pursuant to the management analyst study, three of the five management analysts at BL, excluding plaintiff, received new job titles. (ECF No. 71-1 at 38-39).

         In February 2010, the county manager sent defendant Jacqueline R. Holloway (“Holloway”), director of business licensing for Clark County, a “mandate” that instructed her “to do a reduction in force” by dismissing employees to decrease BL's budget by 8 percent. (ECF No. 71-1 at 40). To comply with the budget reduction, Holloway determined that “between 8 to 12” employees would be dismissed, including a manager of finance, a senior management analyst, a management analyst, a business license agent, an office supervisor, [an] office assistant and an IT . . . support person . . . . [b]ased on [BL's] needs and functions in the department and also functions and duties that could be absorbed by others. (ECF No. 71-1 at 41-42).

         Because his job title had not been changed subsequent to the management analyst study, plaintiff was notified on June 18, 2010, that he would be dismissed as senior management analyst on July 6, 2010. (ECF No. 71-1 at 20). As a member of a union, SEIU Local 1107, which had made a collective bargaining agreement with Clark County, plaintiff appealed his dismissal pursuant to the process provided under the terms of the agreement. (ECF No. 71-1 at 15, 23). Upon reviewing plaintiff's “statements and documents and other information, ” the layoff review committee affirmed plaintiff's layoff. (ECF No. 71-1 at 24).

         Subsequently, plaintiff filed the underlying complaint alleging three causes of action: (1) violation of the ADEA; (2) violation of the ADA; and (3) violation of civil rights under § 1983. (ECF No. 2-2). The court granted defendants Holloway and Clark County's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 22), finding, inter alia, that plaintiff failed to raise a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether his termination was motivated by his disability or his age, rather than by legitimate budgetary concerns. (ECF No. 43).

         Plaintiff appealed (ECF No. 46), and the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded on May 27, 2016 (ECF No. 58). The Ninth Circuit determined that plaintiff raised a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether his selection for layoff was pretext for unlawful discrimination and that the evidence supporting plaintiff's ADA and ADEA claims raised a triable issue as to his § 1983 claim against defendant Holloway. (ECF No. 58).

         On June 20, 2017, the court granted defendant Holloway's motion for summary judgment as to her qualified immunity on plaintiff's § 1983 claim. (ECF No. 74). The clerk entered an amended judgment in favor of defendant Holloway on June 21, 2017. (ECF No. 77).

         Now, Clark County, the remaining defendant, has filed three motions in limine to exclude certain evidence. (ECF Nos. 89-91).

         II. Legal Standard

         1. Motion in Limine

         “The court must decide any preliminary question about whether . . . evidence is admissible.” Fed.R.Evid. 104. Motions in limine are procedural mechanisms by which the court can make evidentiary rulings in advance of trial, often to preclude the use of unfairly prejudicial evidence. United States v. Heller, 551 F.3d 1108, 1111-12 (9th Cir. 2009); Brodit v. Cambra, 350 F.3d 985, 1004-05 (9th Cir. 2003).

         “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. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4 (1980). Motions in limine may be used to exclude or admit evidence in advance of trial. See Fed. R. Evid. 103; United States v. Williams, 939 F.2d 721, 723 (9th Cir. 1991) (affirming ...


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