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Jose Mendez v. Timothy Kreissler

November 22, 2011

JOSE MENDEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TIMOTHY KREISSLER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

E-FILED

Tuesday, 22 November, 2011 03:45:36 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This case is before the court for ruling on various pre-trial motions in limine filed by the parties. This court has carefully considered all of the motions, the responses to the motions, and the documents filed by the parties. Following this careful and thorough review, this court rules as follows: (1) Defendant's Motion in Limine (#79) is GRANTED; (2) Defendant's Motions in Limine (#73; #80) are GRANTED in part and DENIED in part; and (3) Plaintiff's Motion in Limine (#83) is GRANTED in part, DENIED in part, and RESERVED in part.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Jose Mendez, filed suit against the Defendant, Timothy Kreissler, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's conduct, in allegedly using excessive force to recapture the Plaintiff after Plaintiff left Defendant's police vehicle, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Although the testimony of the Plaintiff and Defendant is widely divergent on what actually occurred, the general factual background of this case is as follows, according to the Amended Complaint (#15) and Answer (#33) filed by the parties.

On November 25, 2007, Plaintiff was arrested by the Kankakee Police Department for the alleged commission of a felony offense. After his arrest, Plaintiff was taken to Jerome Combs Detention Center ("JCDC") and was housed overnight at that facility. On November 26, 2007, Defendant transported the Plaintiff from JCDC to the City of Kankakee Police Department to be interviewed. During the interview, Plaintiff had one of his hands handcuffed to a chair. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant grabbed him and injured his wrist during this interview. After the interview, Defendant returned the Plaintiff to his police vehicle to make the return trip to JCDC. Plaintiff had his hands handcuffed in front of him and was placed in the front seat of the police vehicle, without a seat belt. At some point during the short drive to JCDC, Plaintiff opened the door and attempted to escape. Plaintiff alleges this was because he was scared for his life, based on the Defendant's behavior. Defendant chased down the Plaintiff, and had his gun drawn during the chase. Plaintiff alleges that after he gave up and dropped to his knees with his hands in the air, Defendant struck him on the top of the head with his gun, knocking him unconscious. Defendant's version of the events is that Plaintiff did not give up until Defendant tackled him and was able to subdue Plaintiff on the ground, after using reasonable force. Immediately after this incident, Plaintiff was taken to Provena St. Mary's Hospital and received medical treatment for an injury that he had on his head. Plaintiff alleges that he continues to suffer from injuries caused by Defendant's use of excessive force on him during the attempted "escape."

In addition to contesting the factual allegations contained in the Plaintiff's complaint, Defendant also alleges numerous affirmative defenses to Plaintiff's claims, including, among others: (1) that Defendant did not violate any clearly established constitutional right of the Plaintiff; (2) that Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity for any alleged use of force as the force used was reasonable and necessary; (3) that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is a collateral attack on his conviction for violating 720 ILCS 5/31-6(c), and is therefore barred; and (4) that Plaintiff's claims are barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel.

MOTIONS IN LIMINE

I. STANDARD

The "motion in limine is an important tool available to the trial judge to ensure the expeditious and evenhanded management of the trial proceedings." Jonasson v. Lutheran Child & Family Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997). "Although the Federal Rules of Evidence do not explicitly authorize in limine rulings, the practice has developed pursuant to the district court's inherent authority to manage the course of trials." Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4 (1984). District courts have "broad discretion in ruling on evidentiary questions during trial or before on motions in limine." Jenkins v. Chrysler Motors Corp., 316 F.3d 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2002). A motion in limine "performs a gatekeeping function and permits the trial judge to eliminate from further consideration evidentiary submissions that clearly ought not be presented to the jury because they clearly would be inadmissible for any purpose." Jonasson, 115 F.3d at 440. Therefore, the moving party bears the burden of establishing that the evidence is not admissible for any purpose. Mason v. City of Chicago, 631 F. Supp. 2d 1052, 1056 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Unless this high standard is met, rulings on evidentiary matters must be deferred until trial so that issues of foundation, relevance and prejudice may be resolved in the proper context. Mason, 631 F. Supp. 2d at 1055-56; Townsend v. Benya, 287 F. Supp. 2d 868, 872 (N.D. Ill. 2003); see also Jonasson, 115 F.3d at 440.

II. DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS IN LIMINE

Defendant filed eleven motions in limine with this court. Plaintiff filed a combined Response (#86) and three Memoranda in Opposition (#87; #88; #89) to Defendant's motions in limine. At the final pretrial conference on November 18, 2011, this court granted the following motions in limine filed by the Defendant, each of which were conceded by the Plaintiff: #71*fn1 ; #72*fn2 ; #74*fn3 ; #75*fn4 ; #76*fn5 ; #77*fn6 ; #78*fn7 ; #81.*fn8 This court reserved ruling on Defendant's ninth and tenth Motions in Limine (#79; #80). Additionally, although this court initially ...


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