The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Gorman United States Magistrate Judge
Now before the Court is Defendant's motion in limine (#40). The motion is fully briefed, and the arguments of the parties have been carefully considered. The motion consists of seven parts. Plaintiff has responded to only one part, and the time for response has passed. The Court therefore presumes no opposition to the remaining issues, and this Order follows with no further notice to the parties. See CDIL-LR7.1
Each part of the motion is addressed separately below. As explained, the motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
BEST BUY'S FINANCIAL SIZE OR CONDITION
The only possible relevance of Best Buy's financial condition would be for assessment of punitive damages. Punitive damages are not available under the ADEA. Franzoni v. Hartmarx Corp., 300 F.3d 767, 773 (7th Cir. 2002). Accordingly, this motion in limine is GRANTED.
STRAY REMARKS BY NON-DECISION MAKERS
Plaintiff's manager at Best Buy was Edward Stald, and it is he that Plaintiff claims initiated the adverse employment action against her. She has also adduced during discovery several age related remarks that may have been made by other Best Buy Managers (former General managers Chad Rainwater, Steve Patton, and Robert Boyer).
As a general rule, stray remarks by non-decision makers are irrelevant and not admissible. Schreiner v. Caterpillar Inc., 250 F.3d 1096, 1099 (7th Cir. 2001); Gorence v. Eagle Food Centers, Inc., 242 F.3d 759, 762 (7th Cir. 2001). In the case before the Court, however, the identity of the decision maker[s] is not crystal clear. Ruling on this question must await trial and establishment of just who the decision maker was. For the time being, the motion is denied.
EDWARD STALD'S ALLEGED COMMENT ABOUT "CLEAN SLATE"
Edward Stald was brought in as the General Manager shortly after Best Buy went to a new "business model" at some point in his initial days on this job, he stated that all employees would be given a "clean slate." Despite this statement, Plaintiff was not given a "clean slate." Instead, Stald placed Plaintiff on a PIP before he even began working at the same location and before he had had a chance to properly evaluate her.
Defendant asserts that this alleged comment tends neither to prove or disprove any fact of consequence to Plaintiff's claim of age discrimination. Even if Stald did not follow up on this comment with Plaintiff, neither the fact that he may have made the statement nor the fact that he did not afford Plaintiff a clean slate is evidence that Stald was motivated by any age related basis. This statement was characterized in the Order on summary judgment as "superfluous," and I see no reason to change that conclusion at this time. The statement provides no probative value.
The motion to bar testimony of Stald's statement that all employees would be given a clean slate is granted.
EDWARD STALD'S ALLEGED PURCHASE OF A TV AND/OR REFRIGERATOR
During discovery, Plaintiff testified that Stald purchased a television and a refrigerator that had been ordered for a Best Buy customer. Defendant asserts that this testimony is completely unrelated to her claim of age ...