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Rideau v. Lafayette Health Ventures, Inc.

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

July 1, 2019

ALECIA M. RIDEAU, M.D.
v.
LAFAYETTE HEALTH VENTURES, INC., ET AL.

          PATRICK J. HANNA MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is an action brought under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (“FMLA”). Pending here is an omnibus Motion in Limine [Doc. No. 86] filed by Defendants Lafayette Health Ventures, Inc. (“LHVI”); Lafayette General Health System, Inc. (“LGHS”); and Lafayette General Medical Center, Inc. (“LGMC”) (collectively “Defendants”). Plaintiff Alecia M. Rideau, M.D. (“Dr. Rideau”) has filed an opposition [Doc. No. 103].

         For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Dr. Rideau is a radiologist whose specialty is interpreting breast imaging. [Doc. No. 1. at ¶ 12]. From December 1, 2014, to September 1, 2016, Dr. Rideau worked at the Breast Center at LGMC. [Id. at ¶ 13].

         On April 6, 2018, Dr. Rideau filed this lawsuit against Defendants alleging two claims for relief: (1) interference under the FMLA, in that Defendants illegally denied her FMLA leave; and (2) retaliation under the FMLA, in that Defendants retaliated against her for exercising her FMLA rights, culminating in her termination from employment. [Doc. No. 1].

         Dr. Rideau alleges that, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, took FMLA leave to have a double mastectomy, complained about retaliation associated with exercising FMLA rights, and requested a second FMLA leave for breast reconstructive surgery, Defendants terminated her employment. [Id. at ¶¶ 14, 22, 34 and 35].

         Defendants present five (5) subparts in their motion in limine for the Court's consideration. The Court will consider each in turn.

         II. Applicable Law and Analysis

         A. Applicable Law

         1. Motions in Limine

         A motion in limine is a motion made prior to trial for the purpose of prohibiting opposing counsel from mentioning the existence of, alluding to, or offering evidence on matters so highly prejudicial to the moving party that a timely motion to strike or an instruction by the court to the jury to disregard the offending matter cannot overcome its prejudicial influence on the jurors' minds. Mathis v. Pinnacle Entm't, Inc., CIV.A. 11-2199, 2014 WL 2880217, at *5 (W.D.La. June 23, 2014) (quoting Bocalbos v. Nat'l W. Life Ins. Co., 162 F.3d 379 (5th Cir. 1998)).

         2. Relevancy Under the Federal Rules of Evidence

         The essential prerequisite of admissibility is relevance. United States v. Hall, 653 F.2d 1002, 1005 (5th Cir. 1981) (Citing Fed.R.Evid. 402). Rule 401 defines relevant evidence as evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence. Fed.R.Evid. 401. Evidence which is not relevant is not admissible. Fed.R.Evid. 402. Implicit in the above definition are two distinct requirements: (1) the evidence must be probative of the proposition it is offered to prove, and (2) the proposition to be proved must be one that is of consequence to the determination of the action. Hall, 653 F.2d at 1005. Whether a proposition is of consequence to the determination of the action is a question that is governed by the substantive law. Simply stated, the proposition to be proved must be part of the hypothesis governing the case a matter that is in issue, or probative of a matter that is in issue, in the litigation. Id.

         Moreover, pursuant to Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Court may exclude evidence that satisfies the above requirements for relevancy “if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 403. “‘Unfair prejudice' within its context means an undue tendency to suggest decision on an improper basis, commonly, though not necessarily, an emotional one.” Fed.R.Evid. 403, 1972 Advisory Committee Note.

         3. Hearsay Under the Federal Rules of Evidence

         Rule 801(c) defines hearsay as a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Pursuant to Rule 802, hearsay is not admissible except as provided by the Federal Rules of Evidence, by rules prescribed by the United ...


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