United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. CAUTHRON United States District Judge
before the Court are the following motions in limine:
Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Regarding Non-Party Jarrod
Stewart's Irrelevant Activities and Communications (Dkt.
No. 223); Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Regarding Criminal
Restitution Payments (Dkt. No. 224); Plaintiff's Motion
in Limine Regarding Evidence of Settlement with Former
Defendants (Dkt. No. 225); Defendants', Larry Wright,
Phenix Services and Brunswick Companies, Motion in Limine
(Dkt. No. 219); Defendants' . . . Second Motion in Limine
(Dkt. No. 220); Defendants' . . . Third Motion in Limine
(Dkt. No. 230); Defendants' . . . Fourth Motion in Limine
(Dkt. No. 244); and Defendants' . . . Motion in Limine
Regarding Evidence of Bank Loans (Dkt. No. 247). The parties
have responded and each Motion is now at issue.
Plaintiff's Motion Regarding Jarrod Stewart's
Activities and Communications
Plaintiff requests the exclusion of any evidence related to
Jarrod Stewart's insurance business or operations as an
insurance agent and any mention of an email sent from Mr.
Stewart to Turhan and Sapho Erel on January 2, 2013. Stewart
is the owner and designated corporate representative of
Hopkins and he also owns a separate insurance business called
AIM Agency. Turhan Erel owns Turhan's Bay Export &
Import Co., a former defendant entity in this case, and Sapho
Erel is his spouse.
argues evidence of Stewart's insurance business is
irrelevant, prejudicial, and misleading to the jury.
Plaintiff argues because Stewart is a non-party, his
testimony should be limited to his actions as an agent of
Hopkins and the fact that Stewart possesses insurance
knowledge should not be used to imply that Hopkins had
superior knowledge and is not relevant to whether Defendants
conspired to defraud Hopkins. Defendants argue Stewart's
testimony will be useful to show the actions of Brunswick and
Phenix were consistent with lawful purposes.
experience is relevant in relation to his general knowledge
of the insurance industry and the context of the transaction
in question. Accordingly, the Motion is DENIED on this issue.
However, to the extent that counsel seeks to elicit expert
testimony from Stewart, or if the testimony becomes too
time-consuming or prejudicial, it will be stopped.
argues for the exclusion of an email entitled “Turhan
Situation” because it is not relevant to the claims and
is more prejudicial than probative. Defendants argue the
email will be used as impeachment evidence to show bias,
prejudice, interest, and motive. The Court finds the email is
totally irrelevant and the Motion is GRANTED on this issue.
The Court will reconsider this decision if the circumstances
indicate the document may be impeaching.
Plaintiff's Motion Regarding Criminal Restitution
requests the exclusion of evidence related to restitution
payments Erel has paid or was ordered to pay Plaintiff in
relation to a criminal prosecution. Plaintiff argues the fact
that Erel was ordered to pay restitution for a fraudulent
check has no bearing on the issue of whether Defendants
conspired to commit fraud on Plaintiff. Mention of the
restitution would lead the jury to believe Plaintiff has been
compensated for its loss. Additionally, Plaintiff states Erel
filed for bankruptcy and is behind on payments, so any
mention of the debt to the jury would lead to a mini trial on
Erel's ability to pay.
argue because the liability under the guarantee is
conditioned upon payment, all payments received are relevant
and admissible, including restitution payments. Defendants
also state the evidence should be admissible as impeachment
evidence to show Erel has a financial interest in the outcome
of this case.
Court finds the initial $25, 000 payment is admissible but
the criminal restitution payments are inadmissible because
they are materially different from the voluntary payment
received under the guarantee. The parties are free to discuss
the fact that Erel/Turhan's Bay failed to pay the balance
and make arguments as to whether that tends to show
Plaintiff's loss was due to Erel's actions and not a
conspiracy. The issues of setoff and duplicative recovery
will be addressed after the jury renders its verdict. While
Erel may have a financial interest in this case, the interest
is unknown until the jury renders its verdict, and the
probative value of such evidence is far outweighed by unfair
prejudice, confusion to the jury, and undue delay. The Court
finds the Motion is GRANTED on this issue; evidence of
Erel's criminal restitution payments and duplicative
recovery is excluded.
Plaintiff's Motion Regarding Evidence of Settlement with
requests the exclusion of all evidence related to claims
brought against or settlements with former Defendants Advance
Trading, Inc., and Troy Rigel. Plaintiff brought a negligence
claim against Advance Trading and Rigel, which they
subsequently settled. Plaintiff argues this evidence is
inadmissible pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 408 and the duplicative
recovery issue should be addressed after trial is complete.
argue evidence of Advance Trading/Rigel's negligence is
admissible to show it was the proximate cause of
Plaintiff's harm rather than Defendants' actions, and
the Court agrees. Defendants will be permitted to argue
alternate theories of harm. Additionally, a complete bar of
all discussion of Advance Trading and Rigel would confuse the
jury by not providing complete information about the
transaction in question. However, Defendants may not discuss
the settlement, settlement offer, the amount of settlement,
or make any setoff or double recovery arguments to the jury.
Arguments related to recovery will be addressed after the
jury reaches its verdict. Defendants may discuss the actions
of Advance Trading and Rigel and the ...