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Hill v. City of Scranton

March 7, 2006

PHYLLIS HILL, ET. AL., PLAINTIFFS
v.
CITY OF SCRANTON AND JAMES P. CONNORS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MAYOR, CITY OF SCRANTON DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Jones

ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:

Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion in Limine ("the Motion") (doc. 243) filed on February 15, 2006. In the Motion, Defendants request various rulings concerning the admissibility of certain evidence at trial. This trial is currently scheduled to begin on April 5, 2006.

DISCUSSION

A. Motion in Limine to Prohibit Plaintiffs from Presenting Calculations of Front Pay Damages to the Jury

Defendants move this Court to prohibit the Plaintiffs from presenting their own testimony as evidence of front pay damages to the jury at trial. The Defendant argues that the Plaintiffs' own calculations will provide no basis for the jury to determine a reasonable time period for an award of front pay.*fn1

It is well settled that expert testimony is not required to present evidence of front pay damages to a jury. See Shesko v. City of Coatesville, 324 F. Supp. 2d 643, 651 (E.D. Pa. 2004). "[T]he risk of lack of certainty with respect to projections of lost income must be borne by the wrongdoer, not the victim." Id. (citing Bartek v. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, 882 F. 2d 739, 746 (3d Cir. 1989). Therefore, we will deny this Motion in Limine and allow the Plaintiffs to present to the jury lay evidence of front pay damages calculations. The Defendants will be afforded appropriate latitude on cross-examination of the Plaintiffs to fully explore the basis of their individual damage calculations.

B. Motion in Limine to Preclude Plaintiffs from Presenting Any Evidence to the Jury Concerning the Facts, Circumstances or Verdict in the Murray Trial

Defendants argue that we should preclude the Plaintiffs from presenting any evidence concerning the trial in the matter of Murray v. City of Scranton, 4:01-CV-744, that was held before this Court in June of 2003. Defendants argue that the facts, circumstances and verdict in the Murray trial are not relevant, and if admitted, could potentially prejudice and confuse the jury. Plaintiffs argue that the Plaintiff in Murray is a similarly situated person to the Plaintiffs and therefore any evidence concerning his trial is clearly relevant to the instant trial.

While we decline to place a blanket prohibition on Plaintiffs from introducing evidence about the Murray trial in the instant trial, we caution Plaintiffs that we will not allow them to introduce wholesale evidence of the Murray trial to the jury. As we cannot anticipate exactly what evidence concerning the Murray trial that Plaintiffs intend to introduce, we shall defer a ruling on this Motion in Limine until trial.*fn2

C. Motion in Limine to Preclude Plaintiffs from Introducing Evidence about Golf Course or Summer Employees

Defendants move this Court to preclude the Plaintiffs from presenting evidence concerning golf course or summer employees because the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that neither of these groups are subject to the residency ordinance.

The law of the case doctrine requires a trial court, on remand, to "proceed in accordance with the mandate and the law of the case as established on appeal." Bankers v. Trust Co. v. Bethlehem Steele Corp., 761 F.2d 943, 949 (3d Cir. 1985). The purpose of the law of the case doctrine is "to maintain consistency and avoid reconsideration of matters once decided during the course of a single continuing lawsuit." Paul v. The Hearst Corporation, 261 F. Supp. 2d 303, 305 n. 4 (M.D. Pa. 2002)(Kane, J.)

In its Memorandum Opinion issued in Hill, et. al, v. City of Scranton, et. al, Nos. 02-3833/3988 & 03-1377 on June 9, 2005, the Third Circuit noted that neither the golf course employees or the temporary summer employees were subjected to the residency ordinance and therefore the "officers cannot reasonably argue that any of these employees are 'similarly situated' to them." (Rec. Doc. 216, Ex. 2 at 16-17, n. 15). Therefore, we will grant the Defendants' Motion ...


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