United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE
WILHELMINA M. WRIGHT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on nine motions in limine-four
filed by Plaintiff Jacqueline Elizabeth Frazier, (Dkts. 140,
142, 144, 151), and five filed by Defendants Norman Kenneth
Bickford and the Webster School District, (Dkts. 158, 160,
163, 166, 169). For the reasons addressed below, the Court
grants in part and denies in part the parties' motions.
suffered injuries on May 29, 2014, when a school bus hit her
while she was crossing the street in downtown Minneapolis.
Bickford was driving the school bus for the Webster School
District. When the accident occurred, Bickford had just
dropped off a group of students for a Minnesota Twins
baseball game at Target Field. Bickford was following another
school bus driver with whom he was in radio contact. Although
the lead driver had a map to a parking lot, the two drivers
became separated. While trying to find the parking lot,
Bickford began turning left from North Second Avenue onto
Interstate 394 and struck Frazier, who was walking in the
crosswalk while the traffic light was green. Frazier was
seriously injured. According to the complaint, Frazier has
had at least nine surgeries and continues to have
“significant impairments” in her daily life.
Frazier sued Bickford and the school district, alleging that
Bickford was negligent and that the school district is
vicariously liable for her injuries.
parties now seek rulings on the admissibility of certain
evidence at trial. Both parties move to exclude evidence that
Bickford was not issued a traffic citation following the May
29, 2014 accident. Consequently, those motions are granted.
Frazier also moves to admit in evidence the Wisconsin
Commercial Driver's Manual (Driver's Manual),
preclude defense counsel from asking lay witnesses any
“possibility” questions, and limit the expert
testimony of Defendants' medical expert Dr. Patricia
Aletky. Defendants cross-move to exclude the Driver's
Manual and move to exclude certain photographs and a video
recording taken at the scene of the accident, photographs of
Frazier's injuries taken in the hospital, and evidence
pertaining to Bickford's driving activity and his
discomfort driving in downtown Minneapolis.
Cross-Motions Regarding the Driver's Manual
cross-motions, Frazier argues that the Driver's Manual is
relevant and admissible evidence; and Defendants argue that
the statements in the Driver's Manual are inadmissible
hearsay, irrelevant, and unfairly prejudicial. A
“statement” is hearsay if it was made out of
court and is “offer[ed] in evidence to prove the truth
of the matter asserted in the statement.” Fed.R.Evid.
801(a), (c). In response to Defendants' argument that the
Driver's Manual is inadmissible hearsay, Frazier asserts
that the Driver's Manual is admissible evidence under the
public records exception to the hearsay rule,  and that it is
relevant to establish “what Bickford had learned and
been tested on regarding driving school buses” and
“how Bickford was to safely operate a school
current record, Frazier has not identified which provisions
of the Driver's Manual she seeks to admit in evidence,
precisely how any particular provision of the Driver's
Manual is relevant to a fact in issue, and whether the
purpose for which Frazier intends to use this evidence is to
prove the truth of any matter asserted in the Driver's
Manual such that it constitutes inadmissible hearsay.
Consequently, the Court cannot rule on the admissibility of
the Driver's Manual, or any portion thereof, outside the
context of trial.
these reasons, the Court denies, without prejudice, the
parties' cross-motions regarding the admissibility of the
Plaintiff's Motion to Preclude “Possibility”
moves to preclude defense counsel from asking lay witnesses
any “possibility” questions because such
questions call for speculation as to issues on which the
witness lacks foundation. Because Frazier does not know what
questions defense counsel will ask, nor can the Court predict
what those questions will be or whether those questions will
elicit an inadmissible answer, any ruling on this motion
would be speculative and advisory. Thus, Frazier's motion
is premature. Should the circumstances warrant, the Court
will entertain objections to such questions in the context of
the Court denies, without prejudice, Frazier's motion to
preclude questions that call for speculation.
Plaintiff's Motion to Limit Expert Testimony of ...