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Long v. East Coast Waffles, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ft. Myers Division

February 28, 2018

Steve Long, Plaintiff,
v.
East Coast Waffles, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER

          PAUL A. MAGNUSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' Motions in Limine.

         A. Defendant's Motions

         1. Evidence

         Defendant's first Motion seeks the exclusion of seven different types of evidence. a. Prior incidents One of the claims in this case is that the Naples Waffle House should have been aware of the danger of robberies because of robberies at other Waffle Houses in the area. Defendant argues that Plaintiff has failed to establish that the other incidents are sufficiently similar to the incident involving him to make those other incidents in any way probative of the issues in this case.

         To establish his negligence claim, Plaintiff must show that the attack was reasonably foreseeable. While similar incidents at other Waffle Houses may not suffice to establish reasonable foreseeability, it is certainly relevant to that issue. This part of the Motion is denied.

         b. Employee opinions

         Defendant contends that Plaintiff will seek to offer the opinions of a Waffle House employee on several topics. As Plaintiff describes the testimony, it is likely irrelevant to any issue in the case. However, to the extent that this, or any, witness's testimony strays into objectionable areas, Defendant can object at that time. This part of the Motion is denied without prejudice to objection during trial.

         c. Pretrial proceedings

         Defendant asks the Court to exclude evidence of the parties' pretrial discovery disputes. Plaintiff has not responded to this part of the Motion, apparently conceding that such evidence is irrelevant. This part of the Motion is therefore denied as moot.

         d. Dental examination

         Defendant contends that Plaintiff will offer commentary about Defendant's failure to secure a clinical examination of Plaintiff by Defendant's dental expert. Of course, Plaintiff may inquire whether the expert conducted a clinical exam. Whether further commentary on this issue is admissible will depend on the evidence adduced at trial. This part of the Motion is denied without prejudice.

         e. Surveillance video footage

         Defendant argues that Plaintiff will seek to introduce surveillance footage from earlier in the evening to argue that Defendant allowed a group of young people to remain in the restaurant to socialize. Plaintiff contends that this video shows people in the restaurant violating the restaurant's security policies, but the Court has difficulty understanding why video footage of individuals in the restaurant doing things they should not have been doing is relevant to whether the attack on Plaintiff was reasonably foreseeable. Absent a showing that the video is somehow relevant to Plaintiff's claims in this matter, the video is irrelevant. This part of the Motion is granted, albeit without prejudice to any proffer Plaintiff may wish to make regarding the video's relevance.

         Defendant also moved to exclude surveillance footage from after the incident, allegedly showing an employee counting his tips. But Plaintiff believes that the footage actually shows this employee with Plaintiff's wallet, establishing that the employee was involved in the attack. While the Court cautions the parties to ensure that the trial does not devolve into a mini-trial on the issue of who perpetrated the attack, the evidence regarding an employee's possible involvement in the attack may be relevant. This part of the Motion is denied without prejudice to specific objection at trial.

         f. Plaintiff's ...


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