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Aucoin v. Cupil

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

October 17, 2018

LAYNE AUCOIN
v.
LT. ANDREW CUPIL, ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A. JACKSON JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

         Before the Court is a Motion in Limine (Doc. 49) filed by Defendants Andrew Cupil and Reginald Robinson. Plaintiff Layne Aucoin filed an opposition. (Doc. 52). For the reasons that follow, the Court DEFERS a ruling on the Motion in Limine (Doc. 49) and ORDERS Plaintiff to SHOW CAUSE why he should not be sanctioned under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(c) for making inadequate, false, or misleading Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a) initial disclosures.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This excessive-force case arises from a scuffle between prison guards and an inmate on suicide watch. (Doc. 40). Plaintiff is an inmate at the Dixon Correctional Institute. (Id. at p. 1). Defendants are prison guards. (Id.). Plaintiff sued Defendants for negligence and violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants punched him when he was restrained. (Id. at p. 2).

         A two-day jury trial will begin on November 26, 2018. (Doc. 71). In the lead-up to it, Plaintiff submitted a proposed pretrial order listing the exhibits he intends to introduce. (Doc. 46). Defendants take issue with two exhibits. (Doc. 49-1, p. 2). The first is labelled "Certified Medical Records and Billing Metropolitan Health," (Doc. 46, p. 9), the second is labelled "Medical Summary." (Doc. 46, p. 10). Defendants move to exclude both exhibits. (Doc. 49).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The party objecting to the admission of evidence bears the burden of showing that the evidence is inadmissible. Lyondell Chem. Co. v. Occidental Chem. Corp., 608 F.3d 284, 295 (5th Cir. 2010).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Metropolitan Health Medical Records

         Defendants ask the Court to exclude the Metropolitan Health medical records because the records have not been authenticated and Plaintiff failed to produce them during discovery. (Doc. 49-1, p. 2). Plaintiff rejoins that he produced all medical records in certified form after Defendants filed their motion in limine. (Doc. 52, p. 1). Because Defendants did not file a reply brief challenging that assertion, the Court assumes that Defendants' authentication-based objection is resolved and turns to the failure-to-produce objection.

         Defendants assert that Plaintiff did not produce the Metropolitan Health medical records until May 2018, more than 11 months past the discovery deadline. (Doc. 49-1, p. 2). Plaintiff responds that he "identified the records during discovery," but admits that "[t]he production was incomplete." (Doc. 52, p. 1). Plaintiff offers no explanation for failing to timely produce the medical records. (Id.). Plaintiff also fails to articulate how he will be prejudiced if the Court excludes them. (Id.). Defendants, in turn, cite no authority to support their requested remedy. (Doc. 49-1). Nor do Defendants explain why they waited until June 15, 2018-one year after discovery closed-to object to Plaintiffs failure to produce medical records that Plaintiff identified in discovery. (Id.). Had Defendants timely moved to compel Plaintiff to respond to discovery, the Court could have ordered Plaintiff to produce the medical records. See FED. R. ClV. P. 37(a). If Plaintiff then failed to produce the records, the Court could have sanctioned him. FED. R. ClV. P. 37(b). Because Defendants did not move to compel, the Court could not issue an order compelling Plaintiff to produce the medical records, and the Court cannot now preclude Plaintiff from using those records at trial under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b). See Fed. R. Cw. P. 37(b)(2)(A).

         Sanctions may be warranted under another rule. See FED. R. ClV. P. 37(c). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(c) empowers the Court to sanction Plaintiff if he made inadequate, false, or misleading Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a) initial disclosures. See FED. R. ClV. P. 37(c). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a) required Plaintiff to provide Defendant with a computation of each category of damages he claimed. FED. R. CD. P. 26(a)(1)(A)(hi). It also required Plaintiff to

make available for inspection and copying as under Rule 34 the documents or other evidentiary material, unless privileged or protected from disclosure, on which each computation is based, including materials ...

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