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MALONE v. PIPEFITTERS' ASSOCIATION LOCAL UNION 597

August 12, 2004.

LAWRENCE B. MALONE, Plaintiff,
v.
PIPEFITTERS' ASSOCIATION LOCAL UNION 597, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BLANCHE MANNING, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Pro se plaintiff Lawrence Malone, an African-American, worked for Foster Wheeler Constructors at the Robbins Resource Recovery Project and was a member of the defendant Pipefitters' Association Local Union 597 (the "Union"). Mr. Malone alleges that the Union subjected him to a racially hostile and abusive work environment at the Robbins Project. Mr. Malone's case is set for a jury trial on Monday, August 23, 2004. Before this court are the parties' motions in limine.

I. DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS IN LIMINE

  A. Motion to Bar Plaintiff's Introduction of Evidence That Was Not Produced

  The Union moves this court to enter an order precluding Mr. Malone from introducing evidence that he has not previously produced. Specifically, the Union contends that Mr. Malone has not produced copies of 22 documents that he intends to introduce at trial and has included on his exhibit list. Mr. Malone contends that the Union has never requested these 22 documents.

  Before Mr. Malone can present these documents at trial, he must produce them to the Union pursuant to the Northern District of Illinois' Standing Order Establishing Pretrial Procedure. See Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 16.1, Standing Order. Under Section 6 of the Standing Order, the parties are required to "exchange copies of documents that will be offered in evidence at trial." Therefore, the court orders Mr. Malone to produce photocopies of the 22 documents to the Union's attorneys by no later than Friday, August 20, 2004. If Mr. Malone fails to do so, he will not be able to present these documents at trial.

  B. Motion to Bar Evidence That Does Not Relate to the Robbins Project

  Next, the Union moves this court to preclude Mr. Malone from presenting any evidence or from making any arguments except to the extent that they are relevant to his hostile work environment claim, that is, whether the Union instigated, supported, ratified, or encouraged a racially hostile work environment at the Robbins Project. See Reed v. International Union of UAW, 945 F.2d 198, 203-04 (7th Cir. 1991). The Union contends that Mr. Malone has submitted materials in connection with the pre-trial order that go beyond the scope of his hostile work environment claim and that this evidence is irrelevant, and therefore, inadmissible at trial. See Federal Rule of Evidence 402.

  In fact, not only is the proposed evidence irrelevant to Mr. Malone's hostile work environment claim, some of it is unfairly prejudicial to the Union. See Federal Rule of Evidence 403; Mihailovich v. Laatsch, 359 F.3d 892, 906 (7th Cir. 2004) ("evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence"). Therefore, Mr. Malone cannot present arguments and evidence involving his failure to promote and job referral claims because these claims were dismissed by the court in earlier proceedings. The only issue at trial is Mr. Malone's hostile work environment claim. Accordingly, Mr. Malone is barred from presenting evidence: (1) concerning the Union's hiring hall system; (2) relating to wages and benefits received by Union members; (3) concerning job referrals; (4) concerning promotions at the Robbins Project; (5) regarding job sites other than the Robbins Project; and (6) relating to Union membership and Union elections. This list does not include every possible fact situation that is not relevant to Mr. Malone's hostile work environment claim. Therefore, the parties may make additional objections to evidence, if necessary, at trial. The court thus grants the Union's Motion to Bar Evidence That Does Not Relate to Robbins Project Work Environment.

  C. Motion to Bar Evidence of Prior Judgments Entered Against the Union

  The Union moves this court to preclude Mr. Malone from presenting any evidence regarding or making any references to the prior judgments against the Union in Daniels v. Pipefitters' Ass'n Local Union 597, No. 84 C 5225, Malone v. Pipefitters' Ass'n Local Union 597, No. 87 C 9966, and EEOC v. Pipefitters Ass'n Local Union 597, No. 98 C 1601. The Union contends that evidence of these prior judgment is inadmissible pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 404(b).

  Federal Rules of Evidence 404(b) prohibits the use of "[e]vidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith." However, "other bad acts" are admissible if offered for another purpose, such as motive, plan, intent, or opportunity. See Manuel v. City of Chicago, 335 F.3d 592, 596 (7th Cir. 2003). The Seventh Circuit has set forth a four-prong test to determine the admissibility of other bad acts: (1) the other act evidence cannot be used to establish the defendant's propensity to commit the same bad act; (2) the other bad act must be recent and sufficiently similar to be relevant to the matter at issue; (3) there must be a sufficient amount of evidence for the jury to conclude that the similar act was committed; and (4) the probative value of the evidence cannot outweigh the danger of unfair prejudice. See Okai v. Verfuth, 275 F.3d 606, 610-11 (7th Cir. 2001).

  For the following reasons, evidence or argument concerning the prior judgments against the Union will not be admissible at trial. First, Mr. Malone has not set forth any reason for using these prior judgments other than to establish that the Union engaged in similar conduct in this matter. Second, two of the other cases are not recent, nor are they sufficiently similar to Mr. Malone's hostile work environment claim. These two actions involved racial discrimination in referring union members out to jobs. See Daniels v. Pipefitters' Ass'n Local Union 597, 945 F.2d 906 (7th Cir. 1991); Malone v. Pipefitters' Ass'n Local Union 597, 774 F.Supp. 490 (N.D.Ill. 1991).

  Finally, the evidence of these three cases has very little probative value as balanced against the unfair prejudice to the Union. See Mihailovich v. Laatsch, 359 F.3d at 906. Indeed, any discussion of the EEOC action may unfairly prejudice both the Union and Mr. Malone because the district court order finding the Union legally responsible for a hostile work environment was reversed by the Seventh Circuit. See EEOC v. Pipefitters Ass'n Local Union 597, 334 F.3d 656, 663 (7th Cir. 2003). Accordingly, there is a strong possibility that the introduction of the EEOC case and the multiple theories of liability would confuse the issues or ...


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