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Anderson v. City of Chicago

November 2, 2010

ANDERSON ET AL
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve than Assigned Judge

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion in limine #1 [75].

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

Before the Court is Defendants' motion in limine #1 (R. 75), in which Defendants move to bar testimony from certain witnesses whom they claim Plaintiffs failed to disclose under Rule 26(a)(1). For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion in limine #1.

BACKGROUND

In this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit, Plaintiffs named several fact witnesses in the parties' Joint Proposed Pre-Trial Order whom they did not explicitly disclose in their Rule 26(a)(1) disclosures. Defendants seek to bar those fact witnesses from testifying at trial.

ANALYSIS

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(c), "if a party fails to provide information or identify a witness as required by Rule 26(a) or (e), the party is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion ... unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless." Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1). "[T]he determination of whether a Rule 26(a) violation is justified or harmless is entrusted to the broad discretion of the district court." David v. Caterpillar, Inc., 324 F.3d 851, 857 (7th Cir. 2003) (internal citations and quotations omitted). "[T]he following factors should guide the district court's discretion: (1) the prejudice or surprise to the party against whom the evidence is offered; (2) the ability of the party to cure the prejudice; (3) the likelihood of disruption to the trial; and (4) the bad faith or willfulness involved in not disclosing the evidence at an earlier date." Id.

I. Dr. Kurian, Dr. Fredrick, RN Cruz, and Dr. Leef

Plaintiffs Markita Anderson and Christopher Monroe sought medical attention following the April 19, 2008 incident with the Defendant Officers. Plaintiffs produced the medical records from their post-incident hospital visits to Defendants on August 19, 2009. In addition, Plaintiffs referred Defendants to the medical records in their August 19, 2009 responses to Defendants' Interrogatory No. 16,*fn1 and Plaintiff Monroe specified in his interrogatory response that he was taken to St. Bernard Hospital following the incident, where he "was given a CAT scan and a physical before being taken back to the Police Station." (Id.)

While Plaintiffs did not list the names of these medical professionals in their Rule 26(a)(1) disclosures, Defendants had notice of these professionals dating back to August 19, 2009, when they received Plaintiffs' medical records. Accordingly, Defendants have suffered no prejudice or "surprise." Caterpillar, 324 F.3d at 857. Given that the trial date has been rescheduled to March 14, 2011, the Court denies Defendants' motion in limine #1 with respect to Dr. Kurian, Dr. Fredrick, RN Cruz, and Dr. Leef, and grants Defendants leave to depose these medical professionals by no later than December 21, 2010.

II. Harvey Police Officers Edwards, Smith, Magana, and Jones

In July 2006, the above-named Harvey Police Officers were involved in the filing of a complaint register against Defendant Thurman. The incident giving rise to the complaint register has nothing to do with the present case.*fn2 Plaintiffs did not name these officers in their Rule 26(a)(1) disclosures, but have listed them as "may call" witnesses in the parties' Joint Proposed Pre-Trial Order. Defendants argue that these witnesses should be prohibited from testifying because: (i) they were not previously disclosed, as required under Rule 26(a)(1), and (ii) the testimony Plaintiffs will seek to elicit from the Harvey Police Officers is impermissible "propensity" evidence under Fed. R. Evid. 404(b). Plaintiffs argue that Defendants would not be prejudiced because they received the Harvey Police Officers named from the Defendants during the course of discovery. Plaintiffs also argue that the testimony will not be offered as propensity evidence, but will rather "indicate[] that Defendant Officer Thurman initiated a plan, preparation, and knowledge that his ...


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