United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS IN LIMINE
B. FITZSIMMONS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is defendant Ryan Cubells's Motions in Limine to preclude
evidence or testimony regarding FBI recordings from March 13
and 28, 2014, made after the events at issue in this
case. Oral argument was held on October 4, 2017.
The recordings at issue were submitted for in camera
review along with the Internal Affairs Final Report. For the
reasons that follow, the motions [Doc. ##68, 80,
90] are GRANTED.
purpose of an in limine motion is 'to aid the trial
process by enabling the Court to rule in advance of trial on
the admissibility and relevance of certain forecasted
evidence, as to issues that are definitely set for trial,
without lengthy argument at, or interruption of, the
trial.'" Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d 136,
141 (2d Cir. 1996) (quoting Banque Hypothecaire Du Canton
De Geneve v. Union Mines, 652 F.Supp. 1400, 1401 (D. Md.
1987)); see Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 40
n.2 (1984) ("We use the term ["in limine"] in
a broad sense to refer to any motion, whether made before or
during trial, to exclude anticipated prejudicial evidence
before the evidence is actually offered."). "A
district court's inherent authority to manage the course
of its trials encompasses the right to rule on motions in
limine." Capital Mgmt., L.P. v. Schneider, 551
F.Supp.2d 173, 176 (S.D.N.Y. 2008).
should be excluded on a motion in limine only when
the evidence is clearly inadmissible on all potential
grounds." Levinson v. Westport Nat'l Bank,
No. 3:09-CV-1955(VLB), 2013 WL 3280013, at *3 (D. Conn. June
27, 2013) (quoting Highland Capital Mgmt., L.P. v.
Schneider, 379 F.Supp.2d 461, 470 (S.D.N.Y. 2005)).
Courts considering a motion in limine may reserve judgment
until trial, so that the motion is placed in the appropriate
factual context. See Nat'l Union Fire Ins.
Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. L.E. Meyers Co. Grp., 937
F.Supp. 276, 287 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).
March 13 and 28, 2014, the FBI recorded defendant Ryan
Cubells in a bar with other Waterbury Police Officers while
he was on an unpaid suspension from duty and consuming
alcohol. Cubells was not the intended subject of the FBI
investigation; however, the recordings prompted an Internal
Affairs investigation by the Waterbury Police Department that
led to the subsequent termination of his employment.
Defendant seeks an order precluding his recorded statements
made during the FBI recording; evidence of any other wrongful
acts uncovered in the recording, Internal Affairs
investigation and report; as well as all evidence of the
investigation itself. He argues that these recordings are
more prejudicial than probative and should be excluded under
Federal Rule of Evidence 403. Plaintiff disagrees.
preliminary matter, there is no dispute that the recordings
were made after the events at issue in this lawsuit and that
none of the statements made by Cubells on the recordings
related to any of the allegations Garner has made regarding
her interactions with Cubells from April 2012 through May
2013. [Second Amend. Compl. Doc. #85]. "[T]hus they are
not directly probative of [Ms. Garner's] claims, and they
carry a significant risk of unfair prejudice to Mr.
Cubells." Anderson, 2017 WL 3974994, at *4
(citing Jackson v. City of White Plains, No.
05-CV-0491 (NSR), 2016 WL 234855, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 19,
2016) (excluding evidence of defendant police officer's
prior uses of force under Rule 404, noting that none of the
acceptable uses of such evidence-"motive, opportunity,
intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of
mistake, or lack of accident"-were relevant to the
plaintiff's excessive force claims)).
The admissibility of such evidence is governed by Rule 404 of
the Federal Rules of Evidence. With certain exceptions, Rule
404 precludes the admission of "[e]vidence of a
person's character or character trait ... to prove that
on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with
the character or trait, " Fed.R.Evid. 404(a)(1), as well
as "[e]vidence of a crime, wrong, or other act ... to
prove a person's character in order to show that on a
particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the
character." Fed.R.Evid. 404(b)(1).
Jackson, 2016 WL 234855, at *2.
contends that she will offer such evidence to show
Cubells's "underlying racism, use of excessive force
and lack of veracity." [Doc. #71-1 at 2]. The following
statements are representative of evidence plaintiff seeks to
1. "You know what else rope is good for
hanging?"-clear reference to lynching;
2. [made in context of reporting to Chief's office'
"with a white fucking cut out sheet over my
fucking head"-clear reference to participating
in a KKK ritual;
3. "In the middle of the investigation, she
tried to goup with another case where she
saw me and ___beating a black guy on Grove St and she had to
leave the scene it was so bad."-where Cubells
is recorded bragging to his ...