United States District Court, S.D. Florida
OMELIA DEL ROSARIO GUTIERREZ, ANA M. CASTILLO, CECILA RAMIREZ BRITO, and all others similarly situated under 29 U.S.C. 216b, Plaintiffs,
GALIANO ENTERPRISES OF MIAMI, CORP., d/b/a GALIANO RESTAURANT, SULTAN MAMUN, Defendants.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION IN LIMINE
G. TORRES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Omelia Del Rosario
Guiterrez's (“Ms. Guiterrez”), Ana M.
Castillo's (“Ms. Castillo), and Cecila
Ramirez's (Ms. Ramirez”) (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) motion in limine against Galiano
Enterprises of Miami d/b/a Galiano Restaurant (“Galiano
Restaurant”) and Sultan Mamun (“Mr. Mamun”)
(collectively, “Defendants”). [D.E. 72].
Defendants responded to Plaintiffs' motion on July 8,
2019 [D.E. 76] to which Plaintiff replied on July 15, 2019.
[D.E. 77]. Therefore, Plaintiffs' motion is now ripe for
disposition. After careful review of the motion, response,
reply, relevant authority, and for the reasons discussed
below, Plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED in
part and DENIED in
filed this action on November 7, 2017 for (1) overtime wages
pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), (2) federal minimum wage violations,
and (3) Florida minimum wage violations. [D.E. 1]. Plaintiffs
allege that Galiano Restaurant is a company that regularly
transacts business in Miami-Dade County and that Mr. Mamun is
a corporate officer/manager of the corporation. Between 2011
to 2017, Plaintiffs claim that they worked more than forty
hours per week, and that Defendants failed to compensate them
as required under the FLSA. Plaintiffs also allege that they
worked for roughly two dollars per hour in violation of the
minimum wage provisions of the FLSA and Florida law. Because
Defendants failed to compensate Plaintiffs for overtime hours
worked and paid Plaintiffs below the federal and state
minimum wage, Plaintiffs request damages, fees, court costs,
APPLICABLE PRINCIPLES AND LAW
purpose of an in limine motion is to aid the trial process by
enabling the Court to rule in advance of trial on the
relevance of certain forecasted evidence, as to issues that
are definitely set for trial, without lengthy argument at, or
interruption of, the trial.” Highland Capital
Mgmt., L.P. v. Schneider, 551 F.Supp.2d 173, 176
(S.D.N.Y. 2008) (citing Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d
136, 141 (2d Cir. 1996)). Under the Federal Rules, evidence
is considered relevant if it has the tendency to make a fact
of consequence more or less probable. See Fed. R.
Evid. 401(a)-(b). The Rules permit the exclusion of relevant
evidence when the probative value is substantially outweighed
by danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues,
misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, and/or
needlessly presenting cumulative evidence. Fed.R.Evid. 403
(emphasis added). Courts are cautioned to use Rule 403
sparingly, see, e.g., United States v. King, 713
F.2d 627, 631 (11th Cir. 1983), in part because the federal
rules favor admission of evidence and in part because
relevant evidence is inherently prejudicial to a defendant.
See id. (citing to other sources).
term “unfair prejudice” in and of itself speaks
to the ability of a piece of relevant evidence to lure the
fact finder into declaring a defendant's guilt on grounds
other than specific proof of the offense charged. See Old
Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172, 180 (1997). It
also signifies an undue tendency to suggest guilt on an
improper basis, commonly an emotional one. See Id.
In the context of a Rule 403 balancing test, the more
essential the piece of evidence is to a case, the higher its
probative value; the higher a piece of evidence's
probative value, the less likely it should be excluded on 403
grounds. See King, 713 F.2d at 631.
seek to preclude Defendants from presenting testimony or
evidence on (1) attorneys' fees and costs, (2) liquidated
damages, (3) Plaintiffs' counsel, (4) Plaintiffs'
payment or non-payment of federal income taxes, (5)
Plaintiffs' arrests, convictions, pleas, and pending
criminal cases, (6) Plaintiffs' prior litigation against
Defendants, and (7) Plaintiffs' immigration status.
Defendants do not oppose most of the relief sought and only
object to the introduction of evidence related to
Plaintiffs' payment of federal income taxes and
Plaintiffs' prior litigation against Defendants.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs' motion to exclude any testimony
or evidence related to the categories enumerated above -
except for the fourth and sixth categories - is
GRANTED. We will consider the remaining
issues in turn.
first issue is whether Defendants should be precluded from
presenting any evidence related to Plaintiffs' payment or
non-payment of federal income taxes. Plaintiffs argue that
evidence related to their taxes should be excluded under Rule
403 because any probative value is substantially outweighed
by the danger of unfair prejudice and confusion of the
issues. Plaintiffs also claim that any evidence on this issue
is irrelevant and creates undue prejudice in the minds of the
[T]he undersigned concludes that Defendants shall be
precluded from suggesting that Plaintiffs failed to pay
income taxes because such evidence will likely create undue
prejudice in the minds of the jurors; and, it will likely
give rise to collateral disputes-including the extent of
Plaintiffs' reporting obligations regarding such
taxes-that will cause undue delay and confusion of the
issues. Thus, Plaintiffs' motion in limine to preclude
Defendants from introducing evidence that Plaintiffs failed
to pay income taxes is GRANTED.
Ortiz v. Santuli Corp., 2009 WL 2382144, at *1 (S.D.
Fla. Aug. 3, 2009); see also Torres v. Rock
& River Food Inc., 2016 WL 8716674, at *3 (S.D. Fla.
May 11, 2016) (“In this case, the Court is not faced
with a plaintiff who falsified tax returns or was
convicted of tax fraud or tax evasion. Although the Court
does not condone the Plaintiff's actions, his failure to
pay income taxes has only minor probative value to his
character for truthfulness. That probative value, however, is
substantially outweighed by confusion of the issues and
misleading the jury.”) (emphasis in original).
other hand, Defendants rely on cases where courts have
allowed defendants to inquire about a plaintiff's failure
to pay income taxes to attack a plaintiff's credibility
under Federal Rule of Evidence 608(b). SeeRakip v. Paradise Awnings Corp., 2011 WL 6029981, at
*3 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 30, 2011); Barrera, No. 09-
cv-21841, ECF No. 291 at *4 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 26, 2011);
Palma, 2011 WL 6030073, at *1; Chamblee v.
Harris & Harris, Inc., 154 F.Supp.2d 670, 681
(S.D.N.Y. 2001) (“Evidence that a witness has failed,
for years, to file a tax return is a matter which affects the
witness's credibility.”). Because the question of
whether Plaintiffs paid federal income taxes is allowed for
impeachment purposes under the Federal Rules of Evidence and
it relates to the question of whether Plaintiffs ...