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Adams v. City of Shreveport

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

November 17, 2017

LEGEE ADAMS
v.
CITY OF SHREVEPORT, ET AL.

          HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          S. MAURICE HICKS, JR. CHIEF JUDGE

         Before the Court are multiple Motions in Limine (Record Documents 44-49) filed by Plaintiff Legee Adams (“Adams”) seeking to exclude (1) certain comments from Defendants City of Shreveport, Officer Coleman (“Coleman”), and Officer Neville (“Neville”) (collectively “Defendants”) and/or Defendants' counsel; (2) Adams' prior convictions; and (3) Adams' use or possession of marijuana on the date in question. Adams also seeks permission to (1) demonstrate his injuries to the jury; (2) present proposed jury instruction on reasonable force; and (3) allow the trial testimony of Aaron King (“King”). Defendants have filed their own Motions in Limine (Record Documents 50-51) to exclude prior acts and/or disciplinary history of Coleman and Neville and to exclude the trial testimony of King. For the reasons contained in the instant Memorandum Ruling, Adams' Motions in Limine are declared MOOT, DEFERRED to trial, GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Additionally, Defendants' Motions in Limine are GRANTED.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This action arises from Adams' arrest on the night of November 6, 2014, in Shreveport, Louisiana. On that night, Officers Coleman and Neville, members of a combined Caddo Parish Sheriff's Department and Shreveport Police Department (“SPD”) street-level narcotics team, were patrolling streets near the Louisiana State Fairgrounds in Shreveport. See Record Document 21-6 at 13. While on patrol travelling westbound on Boone Street at about 8:30 PM, Officers Coleman and Neville observed two males walking in the street. See id. at 11. According to Officer Coleman, one of the men (who was later identified as Adams) was also “sagging, ” meaning that he was wearing his pants below his waist, in violation of Shreveport City Ordinance § 50-167 (wearing of pants below the waist in public). See Record Document 21-5 at 11. The two men were Adams and his cousin, King. See Record Document 21-8 at 7.

         The officers decided to perform an investigative or Terry stop of the two men. See Record Document 21-5 at 13. The officers emerged from their car to initiate the stop. According to Officer Coleman, Adams ran from him as soon as he began to exit the car; Officer Coleman then immediately began yelling “stop” and “police” at Adams as he chased him. See Record Document 21-5 at 13. Officer Coleman eventually caught up to Adams in a vacant lot nearby. According to Adams, after running for an uncertain distance, he stopped. See Record Document 21-8 at 9. Then, he contends that Officer Coleman tackled him, punched him multiple times in the face, kicked him in the arm and ribs, hit him in the collarbone with a pair of handcuffs, and roughly pulled his arms behind his back and put them in handcuffs. See id. at 9-10. Officer Coleman contends that as he was chasing Adams, Adams began to stumble, and he grabbed Adams' shoulder as Adams was falling to the ground. See Record Document 21-5 at 14. According to Officer Coleman, once he and Adams were on the ground, with Adams face down and Officer Coleman's chest on top of him, Officer Coleman simply pulled Adams' arms out from beneath him and handcuffed them behind his back. See id. The next day, doctors diagnosed Adams with a broken collarbone, hand sprain and strain, and fractured hand. See Record Document 21-4 at 18.

         Adams was later charged with possession of marijuana and resisting an officer. See Record Document 21-9 at 2 (certified record of court proceedings from First Judicial District Court, Caddo Parish, Louisiana). On December 16, 2014, Adams pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, and the resisting an officer charge was dismissed. See id.[1]

         On November 5, 2015, Adams filed the instant 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. In his complaint, Adams asserted both federal constitutional claims and claims under state law. See Record Document 1. On August 28, 2017, this Court denied Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment regarding Adams' § 1983 claim for excessive force against Officer Coleman and his state law claims for excessive force, assault, and battery against Officer Coleman. See Record Document 65. This Court then dismissed all of Adams' other § 1983 claims as well as Adams' state law claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution against all Defendants, and dismissed his negligent hiring, training, and/or supervision claim against the City of Shreveport. See id.

         On July 13, 2017, Adams and Defendants each filed multiple Motions in Limine. See Record Documents 44-51. Adams desires to exclude (1) certain comments from Defendants and/or Defendants' counsel; (2) his prior convictions; and (3) his use or possession of marijuana on the date in question. He also seeks permission to (1) demonstrate his injuries to the jury; (2) present proposed jury instruction on reasonable force; and (3) allow the trial testimony of King. Defendants ask to exclude the prior acts and/or disciplinary history of Coleman and Neville and the trial testimony of King. Both Adams and Defendants responded to the respective Motions on July 20, 2017. See Record Documents 54, 55, 57. Thus, the Motions are now fully briefed.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         I. Adams' Omnibus Motions in Limine Nos. 1-9 (Record Document 44)

         Adams requests this Court to exclude the following:

1) Any comments, testimony, evidence, or argument disparaging “trial lawyers, ” or “plaintiffs' lawyers, ” suggesting lawsuits such as this one are an ill of our society.
2) Any comments, testimony, evidence, or argument regarding “overcrowded” courtrooms, or any effort by Defendants to identify this case as the type that causes backlogs or delays in the court system.
3) Any comments, testimony, evidence, or argument regarding the personal opinions of counsel on the merits of the case, the credibility of witnesses or counsel, or personal knowledge regarding any issue.
4) Any comments, testimony, evidence, or argument regarding any possible award to Plaintiff being used to “compensate” Plaintiff's counsel.
5) Any comments, testimony, evidence, or argument indicating Plaintiff's counsel as being from “out-of-state” or “out-of-town.” 6) Any comments, testimony, evidence, or argument portraying the jurors as “taxpayers” or as ...

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