United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
ORDER PROVIDING NOTICE OF COURT'S PROPOSED JURY
BILLY McDADE United States Senior District Judge.
February 8, 2018, the Court held a pre-trial conference in
the above-captioned matter. The conference was continued to
February 15, 2018. Prior to the conference, the parties
submitted Joint Jury Instructions, as well as individual
instructions proposed by each party. (See Doc. 70,
Exhs. G, H, I). The parties also submitted, in writing, their
arguments regarding jury instruction disagreements. Before
the formal pre-trial conference began on February 8, the
Court indicated to the parties which instructions it intended
to accept, reject, and accept as modified. After thorough
discussion, disputes remained on five instructions while the
remainder of the instructions were agreed to.
Court hereby transmits the below proposed jury instructions
so the parties may review them before the final pre-trial
conference on February 15, 2018.
Proposed Instruction No. 1, as modified
succeed on the interference claim, Plaintiff must prove all
of the following by a preponderance of the evidence:
Plaintiff had a health condition that was a “serious
health condition.” I will define “serious health
condition” for you in a moment. The parties stipulate
that Plaintiff had a health condition that was a
“serious health condition.” Second: Defendant had
appropriate notice of Plaintiff's need for leave. I will
define “appropriate notice” for you in a moment.
Defendant interfered with his right to take FMLA leave by not
giving him leave, terminating him, and not allowing him to
return to his job or an equivalent position.
instruction follows Seventh Circuit Pattern Jury Instruction
10.2 for an FMLA interference claim. For purposes of clarity
for the jury, the Court combined elements one and two from
the pattern instruction, and added that the parties have
stipulated to the satisfaction of the first element.
Court Proposed Instruction No. 1, as modified, intends to
replace Court Proposed Instruction No. 1. Plaintiff's
Proposed Instruction No. 1 remains rejected because of this
Proposed Instruction No. 3
have heard evidence that the Plaintiff lied on his
application for employment with the Defendant about a theft
conviction. You may consider this evidence in regard to
Plaintiff's character for truthfulness or untruthfulness.
you find for Plaintiff, you will have to assess the amount
and type of damages to which the Plaintiff is entitled. If
you find that Plaintiff lied on his application for
employment with Defendant, and Defendant would have fired
Plaintiff on learning of Plaintiff's misconduct,
Plaintiff's damages may be curtailed and limited through
the date when Defendant learned of Plaintiff's
February 2, 2018, Order, the Court indicated that
Plaintiff's 2008 felony theft condition would be admitted
only on the issue of damages. (Doc. 88 at 5-6). However, upon
further consideration, the Court believes that the conviction
should, and must, be admitted for purposes of impeachment, as
well. Federal Rule of Evidence 609 limits the admissibility
of convictions that are over ten years old. Evidence of a
conviction that is more than ten years old is admissible only
if “its probative value, supported by the specific
facts and circumstances, substantially outweighs its
prejudicial effect, ” and “the proponent gives an
adverse party reasonable written notice of the intent to use
it so the party has fair opportunity to contest its
use.” Fed.R.Evid. 609(b).
considerable thought on the issue, the Court believes the
probative value of the conviction substantially outweighs its
prejudicial effect because Biaggi's almost certainly
would not have hired Plaintiff had it been aware that he was
convicted of felony theft for stealing from a prior employer.
For that reason, this conviction is extremely probative to
the issues of damages and Plaintiff's veracity. Thus, the
Court believes that this instruction adequately accounts for
Plaintiff's conviction, him lying on his application
about same, and for what purpose the jury can consider each
act when analyzing the evidence in this matter. Court
Proposed Instruction No. 3 intends to replace Joint
Instruction No. 38 and Court Instruction No. 2.