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Seidelman v. Gomez

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 21, 2014

MICHAEL SEIDELMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
MARCO GOMEZ, Defendant

For Michael Seidelman, Plaintiff: Richard J. Dvorak, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of Richard Dvorak, Oak Brook Terrace, IL; Matthew Paul Prengaman, The Law Office of Matthew Prengaman, Chicago, IL.

For City of Aurora, a municipal corporation, Marco Gomez, an Aurora Police Officer, Defendants: John B. Murphey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Joy Annette Roberts, Yancey Lewis Pinkston, Jr., Rosenthal, Murphey, Coblentz & Donahue, Chicago, IL.

Page 703

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, United States District Judge.

Michael Seidelman has sued Aurora police officer Marco Gomez over events that took place starting on August 20, 2011. Seidelman was at a party. There was an altercation, which Seidelman says did not result in fisticuffs or injury, but he was afraid of being attacked by another man who was present and ran off, jumping over a nearby fence to get away from the scene. The next thing he recalls is waking up in the hospital. Other witnesses later told Seidelman (and will testify) that Gomez, who was called to the scene, hit Seidelman without cause, breaking his jaw. Seidelman was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer. He was acquitted after a trial.

Seidelman has made claims for excessive force, false arrest, and malicious prosecution. He claims damages for, among other things, emotional distress. During his deposition, Seidelman testified as follows:

Q: [H]ave you had any emotional problems since this happened?
A: Yeah. I get scared and nervous when I'm driving and I see an Aurora police officer. I just get a nervous kind of antsy feeling.
Q: To this day, do you have that feeling?

A: Yes.

M. Seidelman Dep. at 63.

Seidelman has moved in limine to bar Gomez from offering evidence of prior arrests or convictions of Seidelman. Based on the information before the Court, Seidelman, who is currently 27 or 28 years old, was arrested " a couple" of times when he was 16 or 17 for marijuana or other controlled substance possession and has a misdemeanor conviction for a possession offense. See id. at 9-10. Gomez does not contend that the arrests or conviction are admissible for impeaching Seidelman's credibility generally. Rather, Gomez argues the arrests and conviction are admissible " to test Plaintiff's contention that this one episode with the police (an episode which he does not even remember) is the sole reason for his emotional distress and fear of the police." Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Mot. In Limine No. 1 at 2.

In Sanchez v. City of Chicago, 700 F.3d 919 (7th Cir. 2012), the Court addressed an argument that evidence of prior arrests was improperly admitted for the same purpose for which Gomez seeks to introduce such evidence in this case. The trial judge in Sanchez instructed the jury when the evidence was introduce that the jury could

Page 704

consider it only for the purpose of assessing the extent of any emotional harm resulting from the conduct at issue in that case. Sanchez, like Seidelman, asserted claims of excessive force and false arrest. The court assessed ...


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