trials, partially on the ground that it would be prejudiced by defending with the owners and operators. The Court disagreed, and held that "the negligent operations and poor reputation of that independent contractor would indeed be relevant as to [the manufacturer]'s negligence in engaging them" and did not grant separate trials. 723 F. Supp. at 121. Here, there is simply a reversal of the party seeking separate trials. Myers seeks separate trials on the ground that evidence relating to negligent credentialling would prejudice him; there, the manufacturer sought a separate trial on the ground that evidence of an alleged independent contractor's negligence would prejudice it.
Using the above as guidance in this case, we find that Myers has not met his burden of demonstrating prejudice substantial enough to warrant separate trials. The claims that could conflict here are the negligent credentialling claim against Methodist and the negligence claim against Myers. The prejudice that Myers argues will harm him is the possibility that the evidence used to prove the negligent credentialling claim will spill-over and poison the jury against him on the negligence claim. The evidence proposed to support the negligent credentialling claim is the prior malpractice actions against Myers and the hospital's Physician Review Board's alleged recommendation to deny privileges to Myers. This evidence might not otherwise be admissible to prove whether Myers was negligent as to Corrigan.
Any potential prejudice from spill-over is minimal, however, because the evidence on each count is not related to each other. We find that these claims are ones between which the jury can distinguish. The issue in one is Myers's alleged past negligence, and in the other, Myers's alleged negligence in one particular instance to one particular person. The evidence to support each claim is of a different nature, and could not be used by a reasonable jury for one to support the other. This fact also serves to eliminate Myers's argument of juror confusion.
On the other side of the equation, the equities favor a single trial. Tri-R Sys., 94 F.R.D. at 727. First, separate trials would only further the convenience of the defendants, but not Corrigan. While defendants would be relieved of the burdens associated with a joint defense, Corrigan would be put to the cost of two separate trials, and would suffer delay in resolution of her claims. Second, separate trials would not promote judicial economy because a single trial would take less time and be resolved sooner that separate trials. Given this balance of the equities, separate trials is unwarranted.
We find that the jury can be expected to use the evidence in an appropriate manner, and we will give proper guidance to ensure that any spill-over has minimal effect. We plan to supplement our final instructions to the jury with cautionary instructions at the outset of any relevant evidence to the effect that certain evidence is to be used on certain claims only. We invite defendants to propose suggested instructions to the jury.
Because we do not find that Myers has met the burden of showing substantial prejudice sufficient to warrant separate trials, we DENY his and Davne's motions for separate trials. An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 11th day of January, 1995, upon consideration of Defendant Myers's Motion to Sever Plaintiff's Claims Against Defendant, Methodist Hospital, Involving the Alleged Negligence in Investigating and Extending Privileges to Dr. Donald Myers (document no. 116) and Defendant Davne's Joinder to this Motion (document no. 147), and responses thereto, the Motions are hereby DENIED.
BY THE COURT:
J. CURTIS JOYNER, J.