United States District Court, D. Hawaii
CLIFFORD MCARTHUR RIGSBEE, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Clifford Meredith Rigsbee, deceased, Plaintiff,
CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 1
REGARDING PRIOR INCIDENTS (ECF No. 141)
GILLMOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
City and County of Honolulu's Motion In Limine No. 1
seeks to exclude reference to or admission of evidence
relating to other incidents that occurred involving Honolulu
Fire Department Rescue Watercraft prior to the June 14, 2016
accident involving Clifford Meredith Rigsbee
Defendant seeks to prevent Plaintiff from admitting Trial
Exhibit 127, Rescue Water Craft Injury Report Summary
(“RWC Injury Report Summary”) and Trial Exhibit
128, Reports of Industrial Injury or Illness.
Parties agree as to the bulk of the exhibits. Plaintiff does
not oppose the exclusion of Trial Exhibit 127, RWC Injury
Report Summary. Plaintiff also does not oppose the exclusion
of majority of Trial Exhibit 128. Plaintiff does however,
wish to introduce two injury reports, listed as Incident #12
and Incident #22 in Trial Exhibit 128. (Trial Exhibit 128,
pp. 25-26, 57-58).
City and County of Honolulu's Motion In Limine No. 1 (ECF
No. 141) as reduced to incidents #12 and 22 is
14, 2016, Clifford Meredith Rigsbee (“Decedent”)
was engaged in rescue watercraft training as part of his
duties as a firefighter with the Honolulu Fire Department.
the ocean training, Decedent suffered blunt force injury to
his head and neck. He was brought ashore and transported to
Straub Medical Center. Two days later, on June 16, 2014, he
died as a result of his injuries.
showing of substantial similarity is required when a
plaintiff attempts to introduce evidence of other accidents
as direct proof of negligence, a design defect, or notice of
the defect.” Cooper v. Firestone Tire & Rubber
Co., 945 F.2d 1103, 1105 (9th Cir. 1991). Pursuant to
Federal Rules of Evidence 401 and 402, dissimilar accidents
lack the relevance required for admissibility. Id.
degree of substantial similarity is dependent on how the
evidence is to be used. If the evidence is being offered to
prove the existence of a dangerous condition, a higher degree
of similarity is required because it weighs directly on the
issue to be decided by the trier of fact. Younan v.
Rolls-Royce Corp., No. 09cv2136-WQH-BGS, 2013 WL
1899919, *9 (S.D. Cal. May 7, 2013). The degree of
substantial similarity is relaxed when the unrelated
incidents are introduced to prove notice or awareness of a
defect. Id.; Pau v. Yosemite Park & Curry
Co., 928 F.2d 880, 889 (9th Cir. 1991). Any differences
in the incidents not affecting a finding of substantial
similarity go to the weight of the evidence. Younan,
2013 WL 1899919, at *9.
similarity and closeness in time between the incidents help
determine the relevance of the evidence. Weinstein's
Fed. Evid. § 401.08 .
argues that Decedent's injury occurred after the RWC
traversed a wave while the Decedent ...