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Dole v. Chandler

April 27, 2009

JOSEPH DOLE, #K-84446, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER CHANDLER, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

ORDER

Now before the Court are two motions in limine filed by both Plaintiff and Defendants. Having reviewed the motions, the Court rules as follows:

A. Defendants' Motion in Limine

Defendants have filed a motion in limine seeking to bar Plaintiff from 1) testifying or presenting evidence of the investigation of the alleged assault upon Plaintiff by the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC); 2) testifying or presenting evidence which includes speculation of any witness as to the ultimate issue in the case; 3) testifying or presenting evidence of the alleged interference of the medical records by Jesse Canady; and 4) commenting or eliciting testimony about the death of Sgt. Butler (Doc. 149). Plaintiff has filed a response (Doc. 160).

As to the investigation of the alleged incident by ISP and IDOC, Defendant argues that the investigation was based on interviews with individuals who were not witnesses to the interaction and the interviews are hearsay. Defendants also argue that any testimony, based on speculation, as to the ultimate issue in this case should also be barred.

Plaintiff, on the other hand, argues that the reports are admissible as either a public record or business record. FEDERAL RULE OF EVIDENCE 803(8)(c) exempts "public records and reports" from the hearsay rule. Specifically, Rule 803(8)(c) exempts records which set forth "factual findings resulting from an investigation made pursuant to authority granted by law." Id. Plaintiff also argues that the Internal Affairs report is an admissible business record under Federal Rule of Evidence 803(6), which also applies in the prison context. FED.R.EVID. 803(6).

See also Wheeler v. Sims, 951 F.2d 796 (1992). Plaintiff further notes that Defendants have provided no rule of evidence or case law barring Plaintiff from presenting evidence as to the ultimate issue in this case.

The Court agrees with Plaintiff. So long as the evidence or exhibits are admissible under FEDERAL RULE OF EVIDENCE 803(6) as a business record or is admissible under another exception to the hearsay rule, are factual in basis, and are not an expression of opinion, the Court will allow the evidence. Therefore, the Court DENIES Defendants' motion as to evidence and exhibits.

Defendants further request that the Court bar testimony regarding the alleged bad acts of other individuals. Particularly, Defendants point to one of Plaintiff's witnesses, Jesse Canady who allegedly falsified his report of Plaintiff's injuries and removed the report of another medical professional. Defendants argue that they do not intend to call Canady as a witness and the missing report was rewritten. Plaintiff argues that the integrity of his medical records are relevant to the extent of the injuries. Plaintiff argues that the medical records may not be admissible at all depending on the Court's ruling on his motion for sanctions for violation of HIPAA (Doc. 150).

The Court notes that Plaintiff's motion for sanctions (Doc. 150) was denied. Plaintiff's medical records are thus admissible.

With respect to the issue of Canady's falsification of medical records, his actions may be irrelevant to the matter at bar, but there is insufficient information provided to the Court to make a decision and the Court will defer until further argument can be heard on the issue, outside of the hearing of the jury. No mention will be made to the jury pending a ruling on the issue.

As for Defendants' last request that Plaintiff should not be allowed to comment on the cause of Sgt. Butler's death, Plaintiff has admitted that he has no intention of introducing evidence regarding Sgt. Butler's death and thus does not object to Defendants' request. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion in limine as to testimony regarding Sgt. Butler's death.

Therefore, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendants' motion ...


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