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Ricks v. Matayoshi

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 12, 2017

MARIA THERESE RICKS, as Guardian Ad Litem for her minor son, M.R., Plaintiff,
v.
KATHRYN MATAYOSHI, in her official capacity as Superintendent of the State of Hawaii Department of Education, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS IN LIMINE NOS. 1, 3, AND 4 (ECF NOS. 72, 74, 75) AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS IN LIMINE NOS. 1 AND 2 (ECF NOS. 76, 77)

          HELEN GILLMOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The single count at trial is Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Kathryn Matayoshi in her official capacity as Superintendent of the State of Hawaii Department of Education alleging a violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794.

         Both Parties have filed Motions in Limine seeking to exclude evidence at trial.

         I. Defendant's Motions in Limine

         Def.'s Motion No. 1 (ECF No. 72): Motion to Exclude Lay Witness Testimony of Christina Juan, Collyn Chang, and Crystal Amelang

         Def.'s Motion No. 3 (ECF No. 74): Motion to Exclude Evidence of or Reference to Other Litigation in Which the Hawaii Department of Education Was a Party

         Defendant's Motions No. 1 and 3 seek to preclude Plaintiff from introducing evidence and testimony about litigation and incidents of abuse alleged against the Hawaii Department of Education.

         Plaintiff opposes the Defendant's Motions. Plaintiff states that she intends to call the following three witnesses:

(1) Christina Juan, Principal of the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind;
(2) Collyn Chang, who claims her daughter was physically abused at a Hawaii Department of Education school; and,
(3) Crystal Amelang, who Plaintiff describes as being a classroom aid who witnessed abuse of other special needs children.

(Pla.'s Opp. at p. 2, ECF No. 92). Plaintiff claims that the three witnesses' testimony is relevant to a “pattern and practice of using physical restraint and abusing special needs children at DOE schools.” (Id.) Plaintiff believes evidence of other litigation is relevant to her case. (Pla.'s Opp. at pp. 3-4, ECF No. 94).

         Plaintiff has not established that the testimony of any of the three witnesses is relevant. Evidence is relevant if it has a tendency to make a fact more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence, and if the fact is of consequence in determining the action. Fed.R.Evid. 401.

         None of the three witnesses identified by the Plaintiff have knowledge of a fact that is of consequence in determining the action with respect to M.R. The only issue in this case is if the Defendant violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act with respect ...


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