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Joseph Hauschild v. Marvin Powers

June 28, 2011

JOSEPH HAUSCHILD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARVIN POWERS, M. D., TERRY CALIPER, AND GRACE HART, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Proud, Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Before the Court is a Motion in Limine filed by defendants Powers and Hart. (Doc. 96). Plaintiff filed a response at Doc. 99.

1. Treatment provided to other inmates

Defendants first seek to exclude evidence of medical treatment provided by Dr. Powers to other inmates on the basis that such evidence would be irrelevant to Hauschild's claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Plaintiff responds that he is also claiming that defendants discriminated against him and retaliated against him because he is an atheist. He argues that treatment provided to other inmates, who are not atheists, would be relevant to those claims.

At this point, the Court does not have enough information about the proposed testimony to decide this issue. The motion is denied as to this point, subject to renewal at trial.

2. Medical opinions

Defendants correctly argue that plaintiff and his lay witnesses should be precluded from offering medical opinions, including the opinion that plaintiff should have been referred to an orthopedic specialist. Plaintiff responds that he and his witnesses should be permitted to testify in accordance with their personal knowledge.

Under Fed. R. Evid 701, a lay witness may testify about his inferences or opinions only if those inference or opinions are "(a) rationally based on the perception of the witness, (b) helpful to a clear understanding of the witness' testimony or the determination of a fact in issue, and (c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702." Rule 702 determines the admissibility of expert opinion testimony.

Plaintiff has not identified an expert witness other than the three defendants.

Plaintiff is correct in that he and his lay witnesses can testify about events which they perceived. Thus, a witness can testify as to pain that he experienced, or that he observed that Mr. Hauschild's knee was swollen. However, lay witnesses, including plaintiff, cannot express expert medical opinions which require scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge. In particular, plaintiff and his lay witnesses cannot testify as to their opinion about whether plaintiff should have been referred to an orthopedic specialist.

3. Insurance

Defendants are correct that evidence of their liability insurance is inadmissible for the purpose of showing that they acted negligently or wrongfully. Fed. R. Evid. 411.

4. Acts or omissions of others

Defendants are correct that they are not liable for the acts or omissions of anyone other than themselves. See, Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996). Thus, plaintiff is precluded from arguing or suggesting that any defendant is liable for the actions or omissions of another person. In particular, plaintiff may not argue or suggest any defendant is responsible for unanswered sick call requests unless he shows that individual had personal ...


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