United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
PHILIP A. GIUFFRE, Plaintiff,
P.O. KAREN JEFFERSON #6856, P.O. AMY HURLEY #19490, P.O. MICHAEL SHEPHARD #9736, P.O. MARLENE SMOLEK #5499, P.O. MALCOLM DOMIO #7900, P.O. MAUREEN WEBB #12525, and the CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. Lee United States District Judge
Philip Giuffre brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against police officers Karen Jefferson,
Amy Hurley, Michael Shephard, Marlene Smolek, Malcolm Domio,
and Maureen Webb (collectively, “the Officer
Defendants”), as well as against the City of Chicago.
He alleges that, on July 11, 2013, the Officer Defendants
pulled into a CVS parking lot where Plaintiff was sitting,
ordered him to exit his car, fired their weapons at him
several times, and thereby caused him serious injury. Based
upon these allegations, Plaintiff brings a claim for use of
excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. He also
brings a claim for battery under Illinois law.
anticipation of trial, the parties have filed various motions
in limine. Now before the Court is Plaintiff's
motion in limine to bar Defendants' expert
witness Dr. Angelos Halaris . For the reasons stated
herein, the motion is granted.
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). Rulings in
limine avoid delay and allow the parties the opportunity
to prepare themselves and witnesses for the introduction or
exclusion of the applicable evidence. See Wilson v.
Williams, 182 F.3d 562, 566 (7th Cir. 1999); United
States v. Connelly, 874 F.2d 412, 416 (7th Cir. 1989).
Trial courts have broad discretion in ruling on evidentiary
issues before trial. See United States v. Chambers,
642 F.3d 588, 594 (7th Cir. 2011); Cefalu v. Vill. of Elk
Grove, 211 F.3d 416, 426 (7th Cir. 2000). Moreover,
rulings on motions in limine are “subject to
change when the case unfolds.” Luce, 469 U.S.
at 41; see also Farfaras v. Citizens Bank & Trust of
Chi., 433 F.3d 558, 565 (7th Cir. 2006). Indeed,
“even if nothing unexpected happens at trial, the
district judge is free, in the exercise of sound judicial
discretion, to alter a previous in limine
ruling.” Luce, 469 U.S. at 41-42.
admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Federal Rule
of Evidence (FRE) 702 and the Supreme Court's seminal
decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). See United States v.
Parra, 402 F.3d 752, 758 (7th Cir. 2005). FRE 702 allows
the admission of testimony by an expert-that is, someone with
the requisite “knowledge, skill, experience, training,
or education”-to help the trier of fact
“understand the evidence or [ ] determine a fact in
issue.” Fed.R.Evid. 702. An expert witness is permitted
to testify when (1) the testimony is “based on
sufficient facts or data, ” (2) the testimony is
“the product of reliable principles and methods,
” and (3) the witness has “reliably applied the
principles and methods to the facts of the case.”
Id. The proponent of an expert witness bears the
burden of demonstrating that the expert's testimony would
satisfy the Daubert standard by a preponderance of
the evidence. Lewis v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., 561
F.3d 698, 705 (7th Cir. 2009).
Daubert, the Court must act as the evidentiary
gatekeeper, ensuring that FRE 702's requirements of
reliability and relevance are satisfied before allowing the
finder of fact to hear the testimony of a proffered expert.
See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589; see also Kumho
Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 147-49 (1999).
District courts have broad discretion in determining the
admissibility of expert testimony. See Lapsley v. Xtek,
Inc., 689 F.3d 802, 810 (7th Cir. 2012). In considering
whether to admit expert testimony, district courts employ a
three-part framework that inquires whether: (1) the expert is
qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or
education; (2) the reasoning or methodology underlying the
expert's testimony is reliable; and (3) the expert's
testimony will assist the trier of fact in understanding the
evidence or determining a factual issue. See Bielskis v.
Louisville Ladder, Inc., 663 F.3d 887, 893-94 (7th Cir.
has moved to bar Defendants' expert Dr. Angelos Halaris.
Dr. Halaris is a certified psychiatrist who has practiced
clinical psychiatry for over forty years. Based upon his
review of various documents disclosed during discovery, as
well as the deposition testimony of Plaintiff and other
witnesses, Dr. Halaris has offered the following opinion
about Plaintiff's mental state during the incident on
July 11, 2013, giving rise to this lawsuit:
On 7/11/2013, the rapidly unfolding situation of rejection of
[Plaintiff's] request for an early refill [of his
prescription medication] and the sudden appearance of police
cars and officers generated a sense of inescapability and
total defeat. I view his decision to exit his car and
simulate an assault on police by pretending to hold a gun as
his wish to be relieved from his unrelenting emotional
Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s Mot. Limine No. 3, Ex. A, at 15,
ECF No. 142.
objects to this testimony on the ground that it impermissibly
assumes as true Defendants' version of the facts and
therefore will not be helpful to the jury. In particular,
Plaintiff asserts that Dr. Halaris's testimony assumes as
true that Plaintiff “exited his car and simulated an
assault on police by pretending to hold a gun.”
Plaintiff denies that this description of the events is
testimony cannot be offered merely for the purpose of
bolstering the credibility of a party's version of the
facts. The reason for this general rule is that, rather than
helping the jury “to understand the evidence or to
determine a fact in issue, ” Fed.R.Evid. 702(a), such
testimony usurps the jury's role by “wrap[ping] the
lay witness in the expert's prestige and
authority.” Nunez v. BNSF Ry. Co., 730 F.3d
681, 684 (7th Cir. 2013). As such, expert testimony that
primarily rests upon the assumption that a lay witness has
testified accurately is inadmissible. See id.
(holding that expert testimony was properly barred when it
“rested mainly not on the technical evidence that [the
experts] planned to give but on their belief that [certain
lay witnesses] had testified accurately”); Clark v.
Takata Corp., 192 F.3d 750, 757-59 (7th Cir. 1999)
(emphasis in original) (holding that testimony from the
plaintiff's expert was properly barred as unlikely to
assist the trier of fact when the expert
“assume[d] as truth the very issue that [the
plaintiff] need[ed] to prove in order to
Plaintiff is correct that Dr. Halaris's opinion regarding
Plaintiff's state of mind on July 11, 2013, does
precisely what expert testimony must not do: it assumes as
true Defendants' account that Plaintiff simulated an
assault on police by pretending to hold a gun. Whether the
jury chooses to credit Defendants' account on this matter
is a central question in this case, because it bears on
whether Defendants' response to Plaintiff's actions
was an objectively reasonable use of force. Thus, allowing
Dr. Halaris to offer an opinion relying in primary part upon
the assumption that Defendants' account is accurate would
cause significant confusion regarding this issue and