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National Indoor Football League, L.L.C. v. R.P.C. Employer Services

March 16, 2006

NATIONAL INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE, L.L.C., PLAINTIFF,
v.
R.P.C EMPLOYER SERVICES, INC., AND DAN J. D'ALIO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terrence F. McVerry United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER OF COURT

Presently pending before the Court for disposition are the following:

* PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE, with brief in support (Document Nos. 62 and 65, respectively), and the response in opposition filed by Defendants (Document No. 63); and

* DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF DAMAGES (Document No. 61), and the reply in opposition filed by Plaintiff (Document No. 64).

On March 13, 2006, the Court heard oral argument on these motions at which all parties were represented by counsel who presented and argued the issues skillfully and effectively.

After a review of the case law, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the arguments of counsel, the Court finds and rules as follows:

PLAINTIFF'S FIRST MOTION IN LIMINE (DOCUMENT NO.62-1)

Plaintiff argues that because its claims are for common-law damages, the damages available to it are the full amount of damages, which are largely unpaid medical bills, rather than damages based upon reimbursement rates under the Ohio Workers' Compensation Act. See Vandemark v. Southland Corp., 525 N.E.2d 1374 (Ohio 1988); Harleysville Ins. Co. v. Wozniak, 500 A.2d 872 (Pa. Super. 1985). Defendants respond that "the item of damage belongs to the employee who would be the player and not the employer team or league." Response at 2.

During the oral argument, counsel for Plaintiff represented that a single contract was entered into between the Plaintiff, the National Indoor Football League ("NIFL"), the teams (as members of the NIFL), and the players. As part of that contract, the NIFL contractually agreed to provide workers' compensation and medical coverage to the players. Therefore, Plaintiff argues that it has standing to pursue these claims because under the contract it is obligated to provide workers' compensation and medical coverage to the players.

The Court agrees. At first blush, the Vandermark and Harleysville decisions, upon which Plaintiff relies, appear to be distinguishable from the instant factual scenario. However, upon closer examination, the Court finds that the instant factual scenario closely resembles that presented in those two cases. In Vandemark and Harleysville, the employers either failed to process a claim for workers' compensation or failed to carry workers' compensation insurance. In both instances, the courts found that the essential nature of the claims fell "outside the scope of workers' compensation statutes" and, therefore, did not limit damages to the level of reimbursement available under the applicable workers' compensation acts. Vandemark, 525 N.E.2d at 1376-77.

In the case sub judice, all teams are members of the NIFL, and the NIFL, on behalf of the players and teams, entered into a Service Agreement with Defendant R.P.C. Employer Services, Inc., to provide workers compensation and medical coverage for its players among other services. Undeniably, such coverage was not provided, although the parties dispute the reasons for the termination of the Service Agreement. Accordingly, like the courts in Vandermark and Harleysville, this Court finds and rules that the claims surrounding this litigation "fall outside the scope of workers' compensation statutes," and, therefore, Plaintiff may be entitled to recover the full amount of damages and medical bills if properly proven and Plaintiff will not be limited by the level of reimbursement available under the Ohio Workers' Compensation Act.

Accordingly, Plaintiff's First Motion in Limine is GRANTED.

PLAINTIFF'S SECOND MOTION IN LIMINE (Document No. 62-2)

Pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 803(6) and 902(11), Plaintiff requests that the Court permit the use of the individual players' medical records, invoices, and Federal Health Care Financing Administration ("HCFA") claim forms as evidence to prove its damages and costs. Defendant objects to this request arguing that "Plaintiff needs to present evidence of ...


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