United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon consideration of Defendant
Michaels Stores, Inc.'s Omnibus Motion in Limine (Doc. #
56), filed on August 2, 2017. Plaintiff Jesus Vargas filed
his response on August 16, 2017. (Doc. # 60). As set forth
herein, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.
motion in limine presents a pretrial issue of admissibility
of evidence that is likely to arise at trial, and as such,
the order, like any other interlocutory order, remains
subject to reconsideration by the court throughout the
trial.” In re Seroquel Prods. Liab. Litig., Nos. 6:06-
md-1769-Orl-22DAB, 6:07-cv-15733-Orl-22DAB, 2009 WL 260989,
at *1 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 4, 2009). “The real purpose of a
motion in limine is to give the trial judge notice of the
movant's position so as to avoid the introduction of
damaging evidence which may irretrievably effect the fairness
of the trial.” Id. (internal quotation
omitted). “A court has the power to exclude evidence in
limine only when evidence is clearly inadmissible on all
potential grounds.” Id. (internal quotation
motion in limine is not the proper vehicle to resolve
substantive issues, to test issues of law, or to address or
narrow the issues to be tried.” LSQ Funding Grp. v.
EDS Field Servs., 879 F.Supp.2d 1320, 1337 (M.D. Fla.
2012)(citing Royal Indem. Co. v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins.
Co., No. 07-80172- CIV, 2008 WL 2323900, at *1 (S.D.
Fla. June 5, 2008)). “Denial of a motion in limine does
not necessarily mean that all evidence contemplated by the
motion will be admitted at trial.” In re Seroquel, 2009
WL 260989, at *1 (internal quotation marks omitted).
“Instead, denial of the motion means the court cannot
determine whether the evidence in question should be excluded
outside the trial context.” Id. “The
court will entertain objections on individual proffers as
they arise at trial, even though the proffer falls within the
scope of a denied motion in limine.” Id.
district court has broad discretion to determine the
admissibility of evidence, and the appellate court will not
disturb this Court's judgment absent a clear abuse of
discretion. United States v. McLean, 138 F.3d 1398,
1403 (11th Cir. 1998); see also United States v.
Jernigan, 341 F.3d 1273, 1285 (11th Cir.
2003)(“Inherent in this standard is the firm
recognition that there are difficult evidentiary rulings that
turn on matters uniquely within the purview of the district
court, which has first-hand access to documentary evidence
and is physically proximate to testifying witnesses and the
401, Federal Rules of Evidence, defines “relevant
evidence” as “evidence having any tendency to
make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the
determination of the action more probable or less probable
than it would be without the evidence.” Fed.R.Evid.
401. Irrelevant evidence is inadmissible. Fed.R.Evid. 402.
All relevant evidence is admissible unless “its
probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of
unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the
jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or
needless presentation of cumulative evidence.”
Fed.R.Evid. 402, 403; United States v. Ross, 33 F.3d
1507, 1524 (11th Cir. 1994). Use of Rule 403 to exclude
relevant evidence is an “extraordinary remedy”
whose “major function . . . is limited to excluding
matter of scant or cumulative probative force, dragged in by
the heels for the sake of its prejudicial effect.”
United States v. Grant, 256 F.3d 1146, 1155 (11th
now seeks an order in limine barring Vargas from presenting
evidence on sixteen different topics, arguing that these
topics are irrelevant or unduly prejudicial. (Doc. # 56). The
Court will address each topic in turn.
Any evidence, statement, or argument related to settlement
seeks to exclude any evidence regarding settlement
negotiations pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 401, 402,
403, and 408. (Id. at 2). Rule 408 makes settlement
negotiations and compromise offers inadmissible “either
to prove or disprove the validity or amount of a disputed
claim or to impeach by a prior inconsistent statement or a
contradiction.” Fed.R.Evid. 408(a). But Rule 408(b)
contains an exception: “The court may admit this
evidence for another purpose, such as proving a witness's
bias or prejudice, negating a contention of undue delay, or
proving an effort to obstruct a criminal investigation or
prosecution.” Fed.R.Evid. 408(b).
Rule 408 does not justify a complete bar on the admissibility
of evidence of settlement negotiations. And the Court cannot
determine at this juncture whether discussion of settlement
negotiations for the reasons permitted under Rule 408(b)
would be unfairly prejudicial or confuse the jury.
Accordingly, the Motion is denied to the extent evidence of
settlement negotiations is permitted for the purposes
enumerated in Rule 408(b). More specific objections regarding
relevance or undue prejudice under Rules 401, 402, and 403
may be addressed at trial.
Any evidence, statement, or argument of insurance
to Rules 403 and 411, Michaels moves to exclude any evidence,
statement, or argument about whether it possesses liability
insurance. (Doc. # 56 at 2). Federal Rule of Evidence 411
states: “Evidence that a person was or was not insured
against liability is not admissible to prove whether the
person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully. But the
court may admit this evidence for another purpose, such as
proving a witness's bias or prejudice or proving agency,
ownership, or control.” Fed.R.Evid. 411.
the rule explicitly contemplates situations in which evidence
of insurance would be admissible. Vargas requests “that
this Court allow such evidence to be presented to a
jury” for the purposes permitted by Rule 411, if the
need arises. (Doc. # 60 at 1-2). The Court agrees that all
evidence of insurance should not be categorically excluded
under Rule 411. And the Court cannot determine at this time
whether discussion of Michaels's insurance for the
permissible purposes under Rule 411 would be irrelevant or
unduly prejudicial under Rule 403. Therefore, the Court
denies Michaels's Motion without prejudice. Michaels may
raise more specific objections to evidence of insurance at
Any evidence, statement, or argument regarding the EEOC's
Notice of Right to Sue and determinations therein
seeks to exclude the EEOC's Notice of Right to Sue letter
that was issued to Vargas. Michaels argues the letter is
irrelevant because “it is undisputed that [Vargas]
exhausted his administrative remedies before bringing his
claims.” (Doc. # 56 at 2). Additionally, Michaels
argues the letter is unduly prejudicial under Rule 403
because “the jury may improperly believe its findings
are conclusive or indicative of fault” and “may
give unjustifiable weight to a federal agency's
determination.” (Id. at 2-3). Vargas argues
that the letter is neither irrelevant nor prejudicial. (Doc.
# 60 at 2).
Eleventh Circuit has stated that district courts must make
determinations on a case by case basis whether to admit EEOC
documents in a discrimination case before a jury.
Barfield v. Orange Cty.,911 F.2d 644, 650 (11th
Cir. 1990). The relevant factors include whether the
documents contain legal conclusions in addition to factual
content, whether questions of trustworthiness are raised
pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 803(8)(c), and whether the evidence
presents prejudice issues pursuant to Rule 403. And, although
there may be circumstances in which the probative value of an
EEOC determination ...