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Coleman v. Danforth

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

September 18, 2019

COREY LEWIS COLEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM DANFORTH, et al ., Defendants.

          ORDER

         This case came before the Court for a pretrial conference on September 16, 2019 in Dublin, Georgia. Argument was heard on a number of issues raised in the proposed pretrial order, motions in limine (doc. no. 185), and objections to trial exhibits (doc. nos. 182-83). The oral rulings on these issues are expressed below as an order of the Court:

         I. Preface

         At the outset, I note that many of Defendants' motions in limine ask that I ministerially apply the Federal Rules of Evidence. That is, Defendants have asked for a pretrial ruling on the admissibility of matters that, if introduced at trial, would clearly be inadmissible under the law.

         Counsel for Defendants are expected to adhere to the highest standard of professionalism and ethics in the trial of the case and to be well-versed in the evidentiary rules of law. Accordingly, to the extent that a motion in limine seeks application of the Federal Rules of Evidence in a customary and obvious way, such motion in limine is moot. If an issue related to a motion in limine mooted herein arises at trial, I will rule upon it at that time.

         II. Defendants' Motions in Limine

         Defendants William Danforth, Karen Jordan-Thomas, Kenneth Bell, Rickey Wilcox, Sam Zanders, Rodney McCloud, and Thomas Taylor filed ten motions in limine. (Doc. No. 185.) Motions one through six (id. at 3-8) are MOOT for the reasons stated in the preface of this Order.

         In motion seven, Defendants seek to exclude evidence of Defendants' administrative reporting of the July 15, 2013 incident (the ``Incident") . (Id. at 9.) If any failure to report the Incident is evidence of concealment of misconduct, I will rule on the evidence when it is presented. Defendants' seventh motion in limine is DEFERRED UNTIL TRIAL.

         In motion eight, Defendants seek to exclude any reference to Plaintiff's allegations of evidence spoliation. (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff's counsel is not planning to present any evidence of spoliation and will warn her client to avoid references to spoliation. Defendants' eight motion in limine is MOOT.

         In motion nine, Defendants seek to exclude evidence of any lack of disciplinary action against other inmates involved in the Incident. (Id. at 11.) Evidence of failure to discipline will be permitted only for cross-examination and impeachment purposes. Defendants' ninth motion in limine is GRANTED IN PART.

         In motion ten, Defendants seek to exclude evidence of Plaintiff's claims in this case that were previously dismissed. (Id. at 12.) This motion is GRANTED. References to the dismissed claims may be allowed on cross-examination, depending upon the circumstances.

         III. Defendants' Objections to Plaintiff's Trial Exhibits

         Defendants made nine objections to Plaintiff's trial exhibits. (Doc. No. 182.)

         Defendants object to Plaintiff's exhibits one through twenty-eight, which are audio interviews conducted during an investigation of the Incident. (Id. at 1-2.) Defendants argue that the exhibits are hearsay and irrelevant. Plaintiff agreed to use these audio interviews for impeachment purposes only. It is so ordered.

         Defendants object to Plaintiff's exhibit 29, which is the Georgia Department of Corrections' (``GDC") standard operating procedure for "POST Orders." (Id. at 2.) Defendants argue that the policy is exempt from disclosure and presents a security threat to GDC operations. Before any mention of such materials in the presence of the jury, ...


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