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Mouloki v. Epee

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

July 14, 2017

CHRISTINE EKALLIIPSE MOULOKI, Plaintiff,
v.
MARIE PAULE EPEE and ERIC NGANDO EPEE, Defendants.

          Honorable Virginia M. Kendall, Judge.

          HENDERSON PARKS, LLC Rebecca R. Kaiser One of the Attorneys for Defendants Victor P. Henderson Rebecca R. Kaiser HENDERSON PARKS, LLC.

          DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW

         NOW COME Defendants, Marie Paule Epee and Eric Ngando Epee, by and through one of their attorneys, Rebecca R. Kaiser, and pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a), and move this Court for judgment as a matter of law on Counts Two and Three of her complaint. In support, Defendants state as follows:

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff rested her case-in-chief on July 13, 2017. See, Docket No. 223. Plaintiff has failed to present sufficient evidence for a jury to find in her favor on Counts Two and Three of her complaint. These counts allege that Defendants violated the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act (“TVPRA”) pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §1589 and 18 U.S.C. §1590, respectively. Because Plaintiff did not present any evidence to show that Defendants forced her to work, admitted that Defendants never forced her to work, and admitted that she was free to move out of the Epee home at any time, Counts Two and Three fail as a matter of law.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         If a party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury trial and the court finds that a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that issue, the court may resolve the issue against the party and grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against the party on a claim or defense that, under the controlling law, can be maintained or defeated only with a favorable finding on that issue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1); Winters v. Fru-Con Inc., 498 F.3d 734, 745- 746 (7th Cir. 2007). The standard governing a Rule 50 motion mirrors that employed in evaluating a summary judgment motion. Looking to all of the evidence in the record, the Court must ask whether any reasonable jury could have found for the nonmoving party. Hammer v. Residential Credit Sols., Inc., No. 13 C 6397, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162636 at *8 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 3, 2015).

         ARGUMENT

         I. Plaintiff Has Not Presented Sufficient Evidence For A Jury To Find In Her Favor On Count Two.

Count Two claims that Defendants held Plaintiff in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1589, which provides, in relevant part:
(a) Whoever knowingly provides or obtains the labor or services of a person by any one of, or by any combination of, the following means-
(1) by means of force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint to that person or another person;
(2) by means of serious harm or threats of serious harm to that person ...

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