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Hicks v. Association of Apartment Owners of Makaha Valley Plantation

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 13, 2016

Charles A. Hicks; Deneen Hicks; and Stacey Hicks, Plaintiffs,
v.
Association of Apartment Owners of Makaha Valley Plantation; and Hawaii First, Inc., Defendants.

          TRIAL PROCEDURE ORDER DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS IN LIMINE NOS. 3, 8, 10, AND 11

          Helen Gillmor United States District Judge

         Defendants Association of Apartment Owners of Makaha Valley Plantation and Hawaii First, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants") have filed 11 motions in limine.

         On July 11, 2016, the Court held a further Final Pre-Trial Conference, during which the Court heard argument and rendered oral rulings on Motions in Limine Nos. 3, 8, 10, and 11. This written order sets forth the Court's legal bases for the rulings.

         Motion in Limine No. 3 to Bar References to Unpled Claims (ECF Motion in Limine No. 8 to Exclude Evidence Relating to the Foreclosure on Plaintiffs' Condominium Unit (ECF No. 112)

         Defendants' Motion in Limine No. 3 seeks to bar any reference or evidence concerning claims and remedies that are not asserted in Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint. Motion in Limine No. 8 asks that the Court bar any reference or evidence concerning the foreclosure on Plaintiffs' condominium unit, as Plaintiffs did not assert such a claim in their Amended Complaint. The Amended Complaint states only that "as a result of the adverse, discriminatory terms and conditions of residency that they have been subjected to by the defendants[, ] . . . the plaintiffs have vacated their condo unit and are currently living in Georgia." (Amended Complaint at p. 15, ECF No. 40). There is no reference in the Amended Complaint as to the foreclosure on the unit.

         The Court may exclude evidence that is irrelevant or has a probative value that is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, and could mislead the jury. Fed.R.Evid. 402; 403.

         Plaintiff Charles Hicks has filed another lawsuit challenging the foreclosure, but that lawsuit does not allege that the foreclosure had any connection to housing discrimination. Charles A. Hicks v. Ass'n of Apt. Owners of Makaha Valley Plantation; R. Laree McGuire, 16-cv-00249-JMS-RLP, ECF No. 1.

         Allegations by Plaintiffs that Defendants were responsible for the foreclosure of their condominium are not part of the Plaintiffs' claims and are highly prejudicial. See Scotts Co. v. Cent. Garden & Pet Co., No. 2:00 CV 755, 2002 WL 1578791, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 4, 2002) (granting motion in limine to exclude references to an new and unpled claim). Exposing the jury to unsubstantiated allegations would cause significant confusion and distract the jury from its task. Fed.R.Evid. 403.

         Defendants' Motion in Limine Nos. 3 and 8 are GRANTED.

         Both Parties are precluded from introducing any testimony, evidence, or argument, as to unpled claims, including the foreclosure on Plaintiffs' condominium unit.

         Motion in Limine No. 10 to Exclude Cumulative Witnesses (ECF No. 113)

         Defendants seek to preclude Plaintiffs from calling witnesses whose testimony will be cumulative, duplicative, or redundant.

         Federal Rule of Evidence 403 permits the Court to exclude needlessly cumulative testimony that has little incremental value. United States v. Miguel, 87 F.App'x 67, 68-69 (9th Cir. 2004); Fed.R.Evid. 403. "Cumulative evidence replicates other admitted evidence." United States v. Ives, 609 F.2d 930, 933 (9th Cir. 1979). A witness's testimony may be needlessly cumulative if the plaintiff presents evidence bearing on the same point through other witnesses. Rogers v. Raymark Indus., Inc., 922 F.2d 1426, 1430-31 (9th Cir. 1991) (affirming district court's decision to exclude witness testimony that had little probative value and presented cumulative testimony).

         Defendants' Past and Present Employees

Plaintiffs intend to call the following witnesses:
Nancy Kauwe;
Albert Iokepa;
Jolynn Mehrtens;
Shirley Landford;
Joseph Nunuha;
Tiso Maaina;
Chris Hodges;
Danny Brewer;
and Anson Amaral.

         Plaintiffs state that the witnesses are all current or former employees of Defendants. Plaintiffs represent that they intend to question the witnesses about interactions with Plaintiffs and their knowledge of Plaintiffs' claims.

         Plaintiffs may serve trial subpoenas for those witnesses who are current employees of Defendants upon defense counsel or at Defendants' places of business. Plaintiffs must indicate ...


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