The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge
Thursday, 08 September, 2011 04:32:26 PM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
This case is before the Court for ruling on various pre-trial motions filed by the parties relating to the effect of the Plaintiff's brain injuries on her ability to testify and represent herself in this case. Following a careful and thorough review of all of the motions and supporting documents, this Court rules as follows: (1) Plaintiff's Motion to Substitute Plaintiff (#113) is GRANTED; (2) Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Reply (#112) is GRANTED; (3) Plaintiff's Supplemental Motion (#114) is GRANTED; (4) Plaintiff's Motion to Bar Defendant Randy H. Gross's Testimony as to the Collision Pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/8-201 (#86) is RESERVED; and (5) Defendants' Motion to Bar Testimony of Daniel A. Llano, M.D., Ph.D., Joseph Alper, Ph.D. and Heidi White, CNA (#115) is DENIED.
According to the filings by the parties, the facts of the occurrence in question that are relevant to the motions before the Court are as follows: on February 10, 2008, at approximately 4:11 am, Defendant Randy H. Gross ("Gross") was operating a semi truck and trailer owned by or leased to Defendant RAP Trucking, Inc. ("RAP Trucking") northbound on Interstate Route 57 near mile post 258 in Ford County, Illinois. At said time and place Plaintiff Jodi Hardwick-Schubert (formerly Jodi Campbell) ("Jodi") was operating her Dodge Caravan minivan northbound on Interstate Route 57. At said time and place, Defendants' semi truck and trailer crashed into the rear end of Jodi's vehicle. Jodi's complaint alleges that the accident was the direct and proximate result of one or more of a combination of various acts or omissions on the part of Defendant Gross, including: speeding, failure to reduce speed, failure to keep a proper lookout for other motor vehicles, and other unspecified negligence. The Defendants deny Jodi's allegations of negligence, alleging an affirmative defense that Jodi: (1) entered the roadway from the shoulder without first determining that it was safe to do so; (2) entered the roadway from the shoulder without signaling; (3) entered the roadway at a time when it was unsafe to do so by reason of the relatively close proximity of Defendant Gross's vehicle; (4) operated her vehicle on the roadway without its running lights having been activated; (5) causing herself, by the consumption of alcoholic beverages, to have impaired senses of vision, depth perception, and judgment; (6) failing to keep her vehicle off of the roadway until such time as the effects of alcohol on her body had subsided; and (7) failing to keep a proper lookout for Defendant Gross's vehicle.
At this time there are no known witnesses to the collision itself, with the exception of Defendant Gross and Jodi. Sadly, as a result of the collision, Jodi suffered serious injuries, including injuries to her brain. As a result of these brain injuries, Jodi contends that she has no memory of the collision or the events immediately preceding the collision. Defendant Gross has memory of the collision and, if allowed, will likely be called by the defense to offer his version of the collision. On August 16, 2011, the Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial District in Champaign County, Illinois, determined that Jodi is a disabled person as defined by 755 ILCS 5/11a-2.*fn1 The court ordered that Susan Ann Sanders fulfill the role as the appointed Guardian of the Estate of Jodi Hardwick-Schubert, effective beginning on August 16, 2011.
Jodi filed a Motion to Bar Defendant Gross's Testimony as to the Collision Pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/8-201 (#86) on July 26, 2011. In her motion, Jodi requested that this Court bar all testimony directly, or through hearsay testimony, by Defendant Gross as to the events of collision and for the one mile preceding the collision on the basis of the Illinois Dead-Man's Act. Defendants filed their Response (#99) on August 5, 2011. On August 15, 2011, Jodi filed a Motion for Leave to File a Reply (#112). On August 16, 2011, Jodi filed a Supplemental Motion to Supplement Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Reply (#114). On August 17, 2011, Defendants filed a Response (#116) to the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Reply (#112). On August 29, 2011, Defendants filed a Response (#122) to the Plaintiff's Supplemental Motion. On September 7, 2011, Jodi filed a Reply (#124).
On August 16, 2011, Jodi also filed a Motion to Substitute Plaintiff (#113). Defendants objected to the Motion to Substitute Plaintiff in its Response (#122), filed on August 29, 2011. Jodi responded to the Defendants' objections in a Reply (#124) filed on September 7, 2011.
On August 12, 2011, Jodi made a supplemental disclosure to the Defendants identifying Dr. Joseph S. Alper, Dr. Daniel A. Llano and Heidi White as witnesses who acquired their testimony from observations of her mental limitations while treating her. On August 17, 2011, Defendants filed a Motion to Bar Testimony of Daniel A. Llano, M.D., Ph.D., Joseph Alper, Ph.D. and Heidi White, CNA (#115). Jodi filed a Response (#120) on August 18, 2011. Previously, on November 17, 2010, Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal entered a text order extending the deadline for Jodi's expert witness disclosure from December 15, 2010, to February 21, 2011. On June 30, 2011, Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal entered a text order extending Jodi's deadline to disclose any rebuttal expert opinions to July 15, 2011. On August 30, 2011, Jodi filed a Supplemental Rule 26(a)(1) Disclosure, listing Dr. Joseph S. Alper and Dr. Daniel A. Llano as treating physicians with this Court.
I. MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A REPLY & ...