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Fields v. Department of Public Safety Elayn Hunt Correctional Center

United States District Court, Middle District of Louisiana

November 29, 2014

EDWINA FIELDS
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY ELAYN HUNT CORRECTIONAL CENTER

RULING ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE

JOHN W. DeGRAVELLES, JUDGE.

This matter comes before the Court on the Motion in Limine (Doc. 94); the Clarification of Motion in Limine (Doc. 111); and a separate list of objections to certain of Plaintiff’s exhibits (Doc. 115) filed by Defendant Department of Public Safety and Corrections (“Defendant”) as well as Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine (Doc. 114). The motions are opposed. Oral argument is not necessary.

For the reasons stated below, the Defendant’s Motion in Limine (Doc. 94) and objections are granted in part and denied in part, and Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine (Doc. 114) is denied.

A. Background

After the Court’s ruling on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 82), Plaintiff is left with the following claims to pursue at trial: First, her allegation that she received disparate treatment because of her race and gender in two specific instances: a) Defendant’s failure to transfer her to the 24 hour Unit Ward and b) Defendant’s failure to transfer her from the HSU and D-1 Cellblocks. Plaintiff’s second remaining claim is that she was subjected to a hostile work environment in three ways: a) Lt. Col. Jackson allegedly moved her desk so that an inmate could more easily masturbate in front of her; b) Plaintiff was allegedly told to stop writing Rule 21 violations; and c) she was exposed generally to watching inmates masturbate and having them do so on her.

Plaintiff has filed a Motion In Limine to Exclude the admission of Defendant’s Exhibit 20 arguing that after the Court’s Ruling on one of her claims, the exhibit (a tape recorded interview of the Plaintiff) is no longer relevant and is inadmissable or, alternatively should only be allowed for impeachment. (Doc. 114) Defendant seeks to exclude portions of the same exhibit but seeks to admit other portions. (Docs 94, 94-1 and 111) Defendant has filed a Motion in Limine to exclude other evidence that it contends is irrelevant to the remaining claims and therefore inadmissable. (Docs. 94, 94-1 and 111). Defendant has filed a separate list of objections to certain of Plaintiff’s exhibits. (Doc. 115).

B. Exhibit 20 - The Audio Tape

Exhibit 20 is audio tape recording of an interview Plaintiff gave to representatives of the Defendant in connection with Plaintiff’s allegation that her supervisor sexually harassed her by asking her whether she was in her menstrual period. During that interview, she was asked about that allegation but, in addition, other matters were discussed.

Plaintiff argues that the allegation regarding her supervisor’s menstrual period question is no longer relevant since the Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on this point. Plaintiff argues in addition that the tape is unnecessary because the parties to the conversation will testify about it but, in the alternative, the tape should be allowed only for impeachment. Defendant agrees that the tape is irrelevant as to that part of the tape that deals with the menstrual period but argues that other portions bear on the remaining allegations Plaintiff continues to pursue.

The Court finds that those portions of the tape dealing with Col. Jackson’s question about Plaintiff’s period is inadmissable. As to the other parts of the tape identified by Defendant in Doc. 111, p. 2, these are relevant to Plaintiff’s remaining claims and Defendant certainly may use those portions of the tape to attempt to impeach Plaintiff’s testimony (Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(1)(A)).

As to the tape’s introduction for purposes other than impeachment, Plaintiff does not argue that the tape is not authentic or that she did not make the statement. Rather, she argues that the same information contained in the tape is available through other witnesses. The Court finds that this is not a ground for excluding otherwise relevant evidence. The Plaintiff does not argue that the tape is hearsay and correctly so. Fed.R.Evid. 801(d)(2)(A). Thus, as long as the tape is properly authenticated and identified and is limited to those portions identified in Doc. 111, p. 2, Plaintiff’s Motion to Exclude Defendant’s Exhibit 20 is denied.

C. Evidence Regarding Stricken Claims

For reasons stated in its ruling (Doc. 82), the Court granted in part Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment ...


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