United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ARNOLD SANSONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Order follows Nadia Rodriguez's motion in limine (Doc.
96), Miami-Dade County's motion in limine (Doc. 102), and
Ms. Rodriguez's motion for judicial notice (Doc.
105). The court will address the exhibits at
issue in each motion in turn.
Plaintiff's Exhibit 19
Exhibit 19, which the parties entitle “MDC appeal
employment decision, ” is an automated appeal
concerning Ms. Rodriguez's employment at Miami-Dade
County. (Doc. 44-1, p. 29). Although the circumstances
leading to the automated appeal are unclear, under a section
entitled “Appeal Explanation, ” the automated
appeal states: “The claimant was discharged for failing
to meet the employer's job performance
requirement.” (Id.). The claimant listed on
the automated appeal is Ms. Rodriguez. (Doc. 44-1, p. 29).
County argues Plaintiff's Exhibit 19 should be excluded
because it is irrelevant to the claims and defenses in this
case. (Doc. 102, p. 1). Miami-Dade County also argues any
probative value to the exhibit is outweighed by the danger of
confusing or misleading the jury. (Id. at 2-5). In
response, Ms. Rodriguez argues case law supports finding
unemployment decisions, like Plaintiff's Exhibit 19,
admissible. (Doc. 109, pp. 3-4).
Federal Rule of Evidence 401, evidence is relevant if it has
any tendency to make a fact more or less probable and that
fact is “of consequence in determining the
action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. Relevant evidence is
generally admissible. Fed.R.Evid. 402. The court, however,
can exclude relevant evidence “if its probative value
is substantially outweighed by a danger of” unfair
prejudice, confusing the issues, or misleading the jury.
awarding unemployment compensation under Florida law are
irrelevant to determining whether an employer retaliated or
discriminated against an employee. Dagness v. Target
Media Partner Operating Co., LLC, No. 1:15-CV-23989-UU,
2016 WL 10647255, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 14, 2016).
Ms. Rodriguez failed to explain the circumstances that led to
the automated decision she wishes to introduce into evidence.
Even if Ms. Rodriguez sufficiently explained the
circumstances surrounding Plaintiff's Exhibit 19, the
exhibit is not relevant to any claim or defense in this case.
The issues the jury must determine are whether Miami-Dade
County discriminated or retaliated against Ms. Rodriguez.
(Doc. 80). Whether Ms. Rodriguez was entitled to unemployment
compensation under Florida law is irrelevant. Even if
Plaintiff's Exhibit 19 was relevant, the danger of
confusing or misleading the jury if Ms. Rodriguez introduced
the automated decision into evidence substantially outweighs
any probative value the exhibit might have. Therefore,
Miami-Dade County's motion to exclude Plaintiff's
Exhibit 19 is granted.
Plaintiff's Exhibit 20
Exhibit 20 is a “Decision of Appeals Referee”
from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO).
(Doc. 105-1). In its decision, the FDEO affirmed Miami-Dade
County's automated appeal and found Mr. Rodriguez
entitled to unemployment benefits. (Id.).
County argues the FDEO's decision is irrelevant and any
probative value the FDEO's decision might have is
substantially outweighed by the danger of confusing or
misleading the jury. (Docs. 102, 108).
Rodriguez argues Miami-Dade County had the opportunity to
appeal the FDEO's decision finding her entitled to
employment compensation, but Miami-Dade County failed to do
so. (Doc. 109, p. 3). Ms. Rodriguez claims the FDEO's
decision is relevant because Miami-Dade County's position
in this case is that Ms. Rodriguez engaged in misconduct,
which led to termination; therefore, the FDEO's decision
is relevant to Miami-Dade County's defense.
(Id.). Ms. Rodriguez requests the court to take
judicial notice of the FDEO's decision as an adjudicative
fact under Federal Rule of Evidence 201. (Doc. 105).
other unemployment compensation determinations, FDEO appeals
referees' decisions are irrelevant to determining whether
an employer discriminated or retaliated against an employee.
Gray v. Fla. Dept. of Juvenile Justice, No.
3:06-CV-990-J-20MCR, 2008 WL 11336339, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Feb.
21, 2008) (citation omitted); see also Muller-Davila v.
Care Placement Home Health Agency, Inc., No.
8:17-CV-505-T-26AAS, 2018 WL 1565457, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Mar.
30, 2018) (declining to consider appeals referee decision
denying reemployment assistance benefits in a Title VII
the FDEO appeals referee's decision that Ms. Rodriguez
was entitled to unemployment benefits is irrelevant to
whether Miami-Dade County discriminated or retaliated against
Ms. Rodriguez. Even if the appeals referee's decision was
relevant, the danger of misleading or confusing the jury if
Ms. Rodriguez introduced the exhibit into evidence
substantially outweighs its probative value. Therefore,
Miami-Dade County's motion to exclude ...