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Garcia v. Law Offices Howard Lee Schiff, P.C.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 10, 2019

LUIS GARCIA, Plaintiff,
v.
LAW OFFICES HOWARD LEE SCHIFF P.C., Defendants.

          RULING ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On February 12, 2016, Luis Garcia (“Plaintiff”) received a debt collection letter from the Law Offices of Howard Lee Schiff, P.C. (“Defendant” or “the Schiff firm”). Compl. ¶ 9. The letter stated a charge-off balance of $663.94 and a current balance of $565.46. Id. at 11. On May 23, 2016, Mr. Garcia filed this action, alleging that the debt collection letter violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Compl. ¶ 3.

         Before the bench trial on May 20, 2019, Defendant has filed a motion in limine, Def. Mot. in Limine, ECF No. 71, and a motion to strike, Mot. to Strike Pl. Opp. to Def. Mot. in Limine, ECF No. 76.

         Defendant moves to preclude Mr. Garcia from introducing any evidence that has not been disclosed during discovery. Def. Mot. in Limine. Defendant moves to strike Mr. Garcia's opposition to its motion in limine because the opposition was filed one day late. Mot. to Strike Pl. Opp. to Def. Mot. in Limine.

         For the reasons below, Defendant's motion in limine, ECF No. 71, is DENIED without prejudice to the possibility of renewal at trial. Defendant's motion to strike, ECF No. 76, is DENIED.

         1. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background[1]

         In February of 2016, Mr. Garcia received a debt collection letter from the Schiff firm. Compl. ¶ 9. The letter stated that Mr. Garcia owed a charge-off balance of $663.94 and a current balance of $565.46. Compl. ¶ 11; Def. Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. 4 at 56 [Debt collection letter from Law Off. of Howard Lee Schiff, P.C. to Luis Garcia, Feb. 12, 2016 (“Garcia Collection Letter”)], reproduced at Mem. of Law in Supp. of Pl. Summ. J. Mot., ECF No. 57, Ex. A. The letter listed as zero the post charge-off interest accrued, post charge-off fees accrued, and post-charge-off payments and credits. Id. Mr. Garcia then allegedly “handed [the letter] over to [his] attorney” along with records of “all the debts” he owed. Def. Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. 4 at 15-16 [Dep. of Luis Garcia, Sept. 6, 2017] (“Garcia Dep.”).

         On September 6, 2017, Mr. Garcia was deposed by attorney Dumont of the Law Offices Howard Lee Schiff P.C. Def. Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. in Limine (“Def. Mem.”), ECF No. 71-1; Garcia Dep. At that deposition, Mr. Garcia testified about the debt collection letter and the ensuing legal case. Id. at 2-4.

         The Schiff firm now seeks to exclude from trial: 1. Any “evidence [that] has not been previously disclosed by plaintiff in response to discovery, ” including damages evidence, and 2. “any evidence or testimony [that] contradicts the testimony [that] was given by Mr. Garcia during his deposition.” Id. at 4.

         B. Procedural Background

         On December 14, 2018, the Court denied the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. Order, ECF No. 69; Garcia v. Law Offices of Howard Lee Schiff, P.C., No. 3:16-CV-791 (VAB), 2018 WL 6590356 (D. Conn. Dec. 14, 2018).

         On January 28, 2019, Defendant filed its motion in limine, Def. Mot. in Limine, and set a February 18, 2019 response deadline on the docket.

         On February 19, 2019, Plaintiff filed his opposition to the motion in limine. Pl. Resp. in Opp. to ...


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