United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION IN LIMINE [DOC. #54]
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Luis Romero (“plaintiff”) has filed a motion
in limine seeking to preclude evidence of
plaintiff's immigration status from being introduced at
trial. [Doc. #54]. Defendants Prindle Hill Construction, LLC
and Franklin C. Bradley, III (“defendants”)
object to plaintiff's motion. [Doc. #60]. For the reasons
articulated below, plaintiff's motion to preclude
evidence as to immigration status [Doc. #54]
brings this action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §201, et seq.,
the Connecticut Minimum Wage Act (“CMWA”), Conn.
Gen. Stat. §31-58 et seq., and Connecticut's
prevailing wage law, Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-53, et
seq. See generally Doc. #1, Complaint. Plaintiff alleges
that (1) defendants did not pay him appropriate overtime
wages, in violation of the FLSA and CMWA; (2) defendants did
not pay him the proper minimum wage, in violation of the FLSA
and CMWA; (3) defendants failed to pay him all of the wages
owed to him, in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-72;
and (4) defendants failed to pay him the prevailing wage for
work performed on Connecticut public works projects, in
violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-53. See Id.
at 5-7. Defendants deny plaintiff's allegations.
See Doc. #16, Answer.
trial in this matter is scheduled to commence on September
12, 2017. See Doc. #66.
purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the court
to rule in advance of trial on the admissibility of
anticipated evidence. See Luce v. United States, 469
U.S. 38, 40 n.2 (1984); Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d
136, 141 (2d Cir. 1996). “Evidence should be excluded
on a motion in limine only when the evidence is
clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds.”
Jean-Laurent v. Hennessy, 840 F.Supp.2d 529, 536
(E.D.N.Y. 2011) (citation omitted). “Indeed, courts
considering a motion in limine may reserve judgment
until trial, so that the motion is placed in the appropriate
factual context.” Id. (citing Nat'l.
Union Fire Ins. Co. v. L.E. Myers Co. Grp., 937 F.Supp.
276, 287 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)). “[T]he court's ruling
regarding a motion in limine is ‘subject to
change when the case unfolds, particularly if the actual
testimony differs from what was [expected].'”
Id. (quoting Luce, 469 U.S. at 41).
Federal Rules of Evidence govern the admissibility of
evidence at trial. Rule 402 permits only relevant evidence to
be admitted at trial. “Relevant” evidence is
defined by Rule 401 as evidence having “any tendency to
make a fact more or less probable than it would be without
the evidence and the fact is of consequence in determining
the action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401(a)-(b). “[T]he
court's determination of what constitutes ‘relevant
evidence' is guided by the nature of the claims and
defenses in the cause of action.”
Jean-Laurent, 840 F.Supp.2d at 536.
seeks to preclude the introduction of any evidence at trial
relating to his immigration status. See Doc. #54.
Plaintiff contends that any evidence of his immigration
status is both “irrelevant and impermissible”
because admitting such evidence could discourage individuals
from “pursuing their rights.” Doc. #54-1 at 1.
object to plaintiff's motion, asserting that evidence of
plaintiff's immigration status is relevant to the
following claims and defenses: (1) that plaintiff did not
work any prevailing wage jobs or work at all for Prindle Hill
Construction, LLC (“Prindle Hill”); (2) that
defendant Franklin C. Bradley (“Bradley”)
believed that plaintiff was an independent contractor; and
(3) defendants' lack of record keeping, potential failure
to pay correct overtime or minimum wage rates, and
defendants' reasonable belief that they were not
violating the FLSA. See Doc. #60 at 1-2. Defendants
argue that they knew of plaintiff's immigration status
from the time of his hiring, and therefore raising that issue
at trial will not deter plaintiff from pursuing this action.
Defendants also contend that the case law cited by plaintiff
is distinguishable. See Id. at 2.
Court finds that evidence of plaintiff's immigration
status is both irrelevant and unduly prejudicial, and as a
result should be excluded from trial.
Relevance - Rule 402
is relevant if “(a) it has any tendency to make a fact
more or less probable than it would be without the evidence;
and (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the
action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401(a)-(b). Simply put,
plaintiff's immigration status is not relevant because it
does not have any tendency to make any material fact more or
less probable. Cf. Corona v. Adriatic Italian Rest. &
Pizzeria, No. 08CV5399(KNF), 2010 WL 675702, at *1
(S.D.N.Y. Feb. 23, 2010); see also Francois v.
Mazer, No. 09CV3275(KBF), 2012 WL 1506054, at *1
(S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2012) (“There are a number of cases
that have found that evidence ...