United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge.
filed his action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in
September 2016. See [Dkt. 1 (Compl.)].
Plaintiff's remaining claims, set to be tried before a
jury in March 2019, are deliberate indifference and First
Amendment retaliation. The Court assumes the parties'
familiarity with the facts and procedural history of this
case and lays out only the facts necessary for this ruling.
deliberate indifference claim relates to Defendants Dr.
Frayne and Dr. Gagne's re-diagnosis of Plaintiff with
antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders and
termination of the medications Plaintiff had previously been
receiving for bi-polar disorder and attention deficit and
hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”). Plaintiff claims
that by failing to provide him with appropriate treatment and
medication for bi-polar disorder, Defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need, causing
him injury. Before the Court now is Defendants' Motion
in Limine to preclude testimony from the Plaintiff
regarding medical and mental health causation, future medical
needs, and permanency of injury. See [Dkt. 162 (Mot.
in Limine Standard
purpose of a motion in limine is to “aid the
trial process by enabling the Court to rule in advance of
trial on the 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). Evidence 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. 2013). A court's ruling regarding a motion in
limine “is subject to change when the case unfolds
. . . Indeed even if nothing unexpected happens at trial, the
district judge is free, in the exercise of sound judicial
discretion, to alter a previous in limine
ruling.” Palmieri, 88 F.3d at 139 (quoting
Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 41-42 (1984)).
a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical
need, Plaintiff must show that his medical need was serious
and that Defendants acted with a sufficiently culpable state
of mind. Smith v. Carpenter, 316 F.3d 178, 184 (2d
Cir. 2003) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 492 U.S. 97,
104 (1976)). This includes both an objective component and a
subjective component. First, the alleged deprivation must
objectively be “sufficiently serious.” Wilson
v. Shafer, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991). Here, the parties
agree that failure to provide treatment for bipolar disorder
could constitute a serious deprivation. Second, Defendants
must have been subjectively aware of a substantial risk that
the inmate would suffer serious harm as a result of their
actions or inactions. Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d
262, 279-80 (2d Cir. 2006). Here, Defendants assert that they
believed that Plaintiff was not bipolar, while Plaintiff
asserts that Defendants chose to deliberately ignore his
prior diagnosis in favor of new diagnoses that required less
intense medical supervision. At trial, Plaintiff will have
the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that
Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious
medical need. Blake v. Coughlin, 205 F.3d 1321, 1
(2d Cir. 2000).
move to preclude Plaintiff from testifying about
“medical or mental health causation of his alleged
injuries, the extent of his injuries, his future medical
needs or permanency of injury.” [Dkt. 162 at 5-6].
Defendants argue that such testimony “goes beyond the
field of ordinary knowledge and experience of judges and
jurors” and therefore is not appropriate testimony from
a lay witness. Id. at 6. Defendants point out that
Plaintiff has not disclosed any experts as required by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2)(A) and posit that,
as a result, Plaintiff may not offer any expert testimony on
the aforementioned topics. Id.
represents that he does not intend to testify about medical
or mental health causation, the medical bases of diagnoses,
the need for future treatment, or the consequences of lack of
treatment. [Dkt. 171 at 2-3]. Rather, Plaintiff plans to
testify as to the fact of previous and subsequent diagnoses
and his injuries. Id. As such, Plaintiff contends
that Defendants' motion does not apply to Plaintiff's
testimony. Id. at 3.
Rule of Evidence 702 allows “[a] witness who is
qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, training, or
education” to provide opinion or other testimony under
certain circumstances. Generally, Rule 26(a)(2)(A) requires a
party to disclose its expert witnesses by a certain date.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(A). There is an
exception to the disclosure requirement for treating
physicians who, even when not disclosed, may provide certain
testimony, as discussed further supra at Section B.
On the other hand, a regular fact witness may testify to
matters of which the witness has personal knowledge and for
which a foundation has been laid. See Fed. R. Evid.
602. Further, a lay, non-expert, witness may testify in the
form of an opinion if that opinion is limited to one that is
“(a) rationally based on the witness's perception;
(b) helpful to clearly understanding the witness's
testimony or determining a fact in issue; and (c) not based
on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge
within the scope of Rule 702.” Fed.R.Evid. 701.
parties seem to agree, as does the Court, that Plaintiff can
testify as to the fact of his alleged injuries, including the
past mental health diagnoses and treatment he received and
the symptoms Plaintiff experienced both while on those
medications and after the medications were halted. [Dkt. 162
(Mot. in Limine) at 3; Dkt. 171 (Opp'n Mot.
in Limine) at 3]. Plaintiff may provide such
testimony with a foundation which supports a finding that
Plaintiff has personal knowledge of these matters.
See Fed. R. Evid. 602. This testimony can include
Plaintiff's “own perceptions, including the
physical and emotional effects” Plaintiff experienced
at certain times. See Coleman v. Tinsley, No.
1:10-cv-327, 2012 WL 728310, at *6 (N.D. Ind. Mar. 6, 2012)
(holding that plaintiff could “testify about his own
perception of his physical and mental health, before and
after the incident, which includes recounting any pain, fear,
or anxiety he experienced during those times”).
parties also seem to agree that Plaintiff may not testify as
to medical causation, future medical needs, or permanency of
injury, as these issues require scientific, technical, or
other specialized knowledge, which Plaintiff lacks. [Dkt. 162
at 3; Dkt. 171 at 3]. Plaintiff does not intend to testify on
these topics according to his opposition to the motion in
limine. See [Dkt. 171 at 3]. As such, there
seems to be no dispute between the parties regarding
Court agrees with the parties on the parameters of admissible
and inadmissible testimony from Plaintiff. While Plaintiff
may serve as a fact witness testifying based on his personal
knowledge about the diagnoses he received and his mental and
physical conditions over time, testimony from Plaintiff
regarding technical medical information and as to causation
of his injuries would be improper here. Specifically,
Plaintiff is not qualified to testify about the bases for his
mental health diagnoses or whether the withdrawal of
Plaintiff's bi-polar disorder medication caused any
injuries he claims. See Fed. R. Evid. 701;
Fed.R.Evid. 702; United States v. Cravens, 275 F.3d
637, 641 (7th Cir. 2001) (“Although a lay person may
readily observe a [health] problem, the causation of
a mental disease or defect is a more technical medical
determination such that a court would find expert testimony
particularly useful to its ultimate decision.”)). This
is because such testimony requires specialized knowledge and
training which Plaintiff does not have. Plaintiff can only
“lay the groundwork for the jury to infer