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Sonnier v. Honeycutt

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

January 14, 2015

DERRICK SONNIER
v.
CHARLES HONEYCUTT, ET AL

RULING AND ORDER

BRIAN A. JACKSON, Chief Judge.

Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Suppress Testimony and Evidence (Doc. 30), filed by Derrick Sonnier ("Plaintiff"), seeking an order from this Court excluding testimony regarding Plaintiff's convictions and "any disciplinary action taken against him at any time from the trial of this matter." Defendants Colonel Charles Honeycutt, Major Eric Hinyard, Captain Larry Simon, Lieutenant Clinton Reid, and Lieutenant Robert Rowe (collectively, "Defendants") oppose the motion. (Doc. 37).

Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Regarding Comparative Fault (Doc. 31), seeking an order from this Court disallowing "any questioning, comments, charges, interrogatories or other mention by Defendants that may in any manner suggests [sic] that Mr. Sonnier may share any comparative fault in this matter." Defendants oppose the motion. (Doc. 38).

Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Suppress Testimony and Evidence Regarding Inmate Witnesses (Doc. 32), seeking an order from this Court excluding any evidence regarding possible inmate witnesses' underlying convictions as irrelevant pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 104 and 403. Defendants oppose the motion. (Doc. 39). Plaintiff filed a reply memorandum in response to Defendants' opposition. (Doc. 56).

Finally, also before the Court is Defendants' Motion in Limine to Exclude Certain Testimony of Witnesses (Doc. 58), seeking an order from this Court prohibiting testimony by Plaintiff or his witnesses regarding the following:

(1) Any prior civil lawsuits, investigations, grievance complaints, disciplinary infractions, or other complaints made against defendants on occasions unrelated to the November 14, 2011 incident involving [the Plaintiff].
(2) Any testimony relating to any habitual behavior and/or other instances where the defendants have allegedly used excessive/unnecessary force against other inmates on occasions unrelated to the November 14, 2011 incident involving [the Plaintiff].
(3) Any statement either (a) referring to the filing of the [instant motion in limine], its contents, or the ruling of the Court on any item contained herein (b) suggesting or implying that the defendant has moved to exclude proof on particular matter, or (c) that this Court has excluded proof in particular.

Id. at pp. 1-2. Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Doc. 64).

I. Background

This is civil rights action brought by Plaintiff Derrick Sonnier, an inmate held in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, against Defendants Colonel Charles Honeycutt, Major Eric Hinyard, Captain Larry Simon, Lieutenant Clinton Reid, and Lieutenant Robert Rowe, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 5-6). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by using implements such as large rings of brass keys and tactical radios to bludgeon him. ( Id. at ¶ 9). Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants struck him, including kicking and punching him, which exacted harm. ( Id. ). Plaintiff seeks damages for recovery of all medical and pharmaceutical expenses, pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, punitive damages, as well as costs and attorney's fees. ( Id. at ¶¶ 45, 48). Defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing. (Doc. 51 at p. 3). Defendants further deny that they violated any rights afforded to the plaintiff under federal or state law. ( Id. ).

III. Discussion

A. Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Suppress Testimony and Evidence

In his first motion, Plaintiff seeks to "suppress" testimony or other evidence regarding his own status as a convicted felon, the nature of his convictions, and any disciplinary actions taken against him during his incarceration. (Doc. 30). Defendants oppose the exclusion of ...


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