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Huaman v. Town of East Hartford

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 12, 2016

HUAMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
TOWN OF EAST HARTFORD, ET AL., Defendants.

          RULING ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE

          Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.

         I. Introduction

         The Court assumes familiarity with the underlying facts of the dispute. The Joint Trial Memorandum included three motions in limine. (ECF No. 110.) Defendants seek to exclude (1) evidence of internal affairs and criminal investigations concerning Plaintiff's arrest and Officer Tinsley, (2) opinion testimony as to certain medical conditions, and (3) statements made in emergency room medical records. (Id.) The Court held a hearing on the motions on September 7, 2016.

         II. Evidence of Internal Affairs and Criminal Investigations

         Defendants seek to exclude evidence regarding the internal affairs and criminal investigations into Plaintiff's arrest as well as evidence regarding prior, subsequent, and unrelated internal affairs investigations. Based on the representations of Plaintiff's counsel at the hearing that he will not seek to introduce such evidence in his case-in-chief, the motion is GRANTED. The Plaintiff shall not introduce any evidence, testimony, or argument regarding (1) the Internal Affairs and criminal investigations conducted by the East Hartford Police Department into Plaintiff's arrest of November 15, 2012, (2) prior, subsequent, and unrelated internal affairs investigations, or (3) the initial imposition of discipline and the eventual settlement of Officer Tinsley's labor dispute arising from the incident. Should Plaintiff's counsel believe that Defendants have opened a door relating to any of these items, or otherwise that Defendants have waived the protection of this ruling, he shall raise any such assertions outside the presence or hearing of the jury.

         III. Opinion Testimony by Dr. Julie Goslee and Krista Kulpa, LPC

         Defendants seek to exclude the testimony of Dr. Julie Goslee and Krista Kulpa, LPC, as it relates to an opinion with regard to the Plaintiff's mental health and the effects of the incident. Defendants argue that these witnesses were not properly disclosed as experts under Fed R. Civ. P. 26. Defendants argue that neither Dr. Goslee nor Kulpa were acting as treating physicians and that Plaintiff was required to provide disclosures under Rule 26. There are two problems with this argument. First, the rule does not depend on whether the doctor was a treating physician. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B), only a witness “retained or specially employed to provide expert testimony in the case or one whose duties as the party's employee regularly involve giving expert testimony” must provide a written report. Regardless of whether Dr. Goslee and Kulpa are treating physicians, they were not retained to provide expert testimony in the case and neither is the employee of a party.

         I do find, however, as Judge Melancon did in Barack v. Am. Honda Motor Co., that “a party seeking to use a treating physician must disclose more than just the identity of the treating physician.” 293 F.R.D. 106, 108 (D. Conn. 2013). In particular, I find that parties seeking to elicit opinions based on scientific or other specialized knowledge, including from treating physicians, must at least comply with Rule 26(a)(2)(C), which requires witnesses who do not provide a written report to be disclosed along with “(i) the subject matter on which the witness is expected to present evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 702, 703, or 705; and (ii) a summary of the facts and opinions to which the witness is expected to testify.” In this case, Plaintiff provided Defendants with reports of both witnesses that satisfy these requirements. The reports outline the subject matter and the facts and opinions they would testify to. Thus, the witnesses were disclosed properly and will be allowed to testify to the opinions expressed in their reports. Therefore, the motion is DENIED.

         IV. Hearsay Statements in Medical Records

         A. The Emergency Room Records

         Defendants also seek to exclude statements in the emergency room records that state that the Plaintiff was “physically assaulted” or “physically harmed.”

         In particular, they want the following “assessment paragraph” redacted from the emergency room records:

ASSESSMENT: Pain level 3, using numeric pain scoring. Pt with complaints of pain in stomach and head after physical incident with an east hartford police officer. Per Mom “The police officer was supposed to escort him to court where he was suppose to have a psychological assessment ordered by court, and the officer threw him after taking him off the couch. First, he grabbed him and took him outside the apt and then took him back in the apartment. He put him on the ground onto his stomach, handcuffed him and then kept punching him in the stomach and the ...

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