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Acadian Diagnostic Laboratories, LLC v. Quality Toxicology, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

September 6, 2019

ACADIAN DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORIES, LLC
v.
QUALITY TOXICOLOGY, LLC

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A JACKSON JUDGE

         Before the Court is Quality Toxicology, LLC's ("Defendant") Motion for a New Trial (Doc. 133). Acadian Diagnostic Laboratories, LLC ("Plaintiff) opposes the motion. (Doc. 140). Oral argument is not required. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This matter arises out of circumstances which have been previously set forth in the Court's Order addressing Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 76). In short, Plaintiff claimed that Defendant breached contracts relating to several business agreements for the referral and testing of urine samples. (Doc. 76). At the trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff, and awarded damages in the amount of $635, 032.23 and $269, 706.50 for breaches of contractual obligations. (Doc. 105).[1] Defendant now brings a motion for a new trial.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a)(1)(A) provides that the court "may, on motion, grant a new trial on all or some of the issues - and to any party - . ., after a jury trial, for any reason for which a new trial has heretofore been granted in an action at law in federal court." Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a)(1)(A). "The decision to grant or deny a motion for new trial is within the sound discretion of the trial court. . ." Pryor v. Trane Co., 138 F.3d 1024, 1026 (5th Cir. 1998).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Testimony of John McFadden

         Defendant claims that this Court erred when it declined to allow the jury to consider the testimony of John McFadden. (Doc. 133-1 at par. 1). The Court barred any mention during trial of Toxnet Diagnostic Laboratories ("Toxnet"), which is alleged to be a company started by current employees of Acadian Diagnostic Laboratories, LLC and prior employees of Quality Toxicology, LLC. (Doc. 97 at pp. 4-5). The Court reasoned that the mention of Toxnet would be unduly prejudicial to Plaintiff, and a waste of time under Fed.R.Evid. 403. (Id. at p. 5).

         The Court heard McFadden's proffered testimony, the subject of which was Toxnet, and the circumstances surrounding its creation. (Doc. 114). Despite Defendant's request, the Court declined to reconsider its prior ruling on the admissibility of evidence relating to Toxnet. (Id. at p. 14).

         The grant or denial of a motion in limine is fully within the discretion of the trial Court. Hesling u. CSX Transp.., Inc., 396 F.3d 632, 643 (5th Cir. 2005). Having found that the proffered testimony pertained to Toxnet, the Court declined to allow McFadden to testify. Defendant offered no further justification for the admission of testimony, which covered topics previously barred by the Court's ruling on Plaintiffs motion in limine. (Doc. 97). Plaintiffs request for a new trial based on the exclusion of McFadden's proffered testimony is DENIED.

         B. Jury Instructions

         Defendant next claims that the Court misrepresented certain statements as "established facts" when it instructed the jury that Plaintiff referred urine samples to Defendant in 2013. (Doc. 113 at p. 103). Defendant claims that the testimony of Kevin Hanley, owner of Acadian Diagnostic Laboratories, LLC, directly contradicted this statement. (Id.).

         This argument lacks merit. Presumably after reviewing the evidence and the proposed testimony of Hanley, the parties submitted a document titled "Proposed Joint Jury Instructions, Jury Interrogatories, Verdict Form and Special Voir Dire." (Doc. 87) (emphasis added). In this joint filing, under the title "Summary of the ...


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