Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wyckoff v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


November 13, 2006

ROBERT G. WYCKOFF, PLAINTIFF,
v.
METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY AND KENNETH F. KACZMAREK, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambrose, Chief District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER OF COURT

Defendants Metropolitan Life Insurance Company ("MetLife") and Kenneth F. Kaczmarek ("Kaczmarek") (collectively, "Defendants") have filed Objections to Plaintiff's Deposition Designations for James Rayl. (Docket No. 88).*fn1 Plaintiff opposes these objections. (Docket No. 122). After careful review, Defendants' objections are sustained in part and overruled in part as follows.*fn2

As an initial matter, Defendants argue that proposed trial exhibit 115, Rayl's April 13, 1998 deposition transcript, is inadmissible because Plaintiff failed to designate any portion of the testimony contained therein to be read at trial. I agree. All deposition designations by the parties in this matter were due on September 27, 2006. See Docket No. 46. Although Plaintiff timely designated portions of Rayl's February 25, 1998 deposition transcript to be read at trial (Docket No. 48), he did not file any designations with respect to the April 13, 1998 transcript.*fn3 Accordingly, Defendants' objections are sustained with respect to Plaintiff's proposed exhibit 115 in its entirety. For the same reasons, any portions of Rayl's February 25, 1998 deposition testimony (proposed trial exhibit No. 114) that Plaintiff has not designated to be read at trial are likewise excluded.

With respect to the portions of trial exhibit 114 that Plaintiff has designated to be introduced at trial, I rule as follows:

1. Transcript Pages 6:14-8:25; 20:7-21:9; 31:1-32:25; 42:1-44:25; 102:2-105:4: Defendants' objections are overruled as moot. Plaintiff did not properly designate these portions of Rayl's deposition to be read at trial. See Docket No. 48.*fn4

2. Transcript Pages 9:24-10:3:

Defendants' objections to this testimony are overruled. The testimony is relevant background information to establish the extent of Rayl's preparation for the deposition and that he reviewed certain documents. Even if such probative value is minimal, this brief excerpt is not prejudicial to Defendants.

3. Transcript Pages 52:9-23; 59:25-60:8; 77:18-79:18: Defendants' objections to this testimony as irrelevant are overruled. The testimony is relevant background regarding Rayl's work history with MetLife and position within the company.

4. Transcript Pages 105:5-106:2; 107:13-108:24; 169:9-22: Defendants' objections to this testimony are sustained. The testimony is irrelevant to the issues in this case. Even if the testimony were minimally probative, such probative value would be outweighed by prejudice to Defendants. See Fed. R. Evid. 401, 402, 403.

5. Transcript Pages 173:25-174:3; Deposition Exhibit 22: Defendants' objections to this testimony and exhibit are sustained in part and overruled in part. The testimony at pages 173:25-174:3 is admissible as an identification of deposition exhibit 22. I disagree with Defendants that the documents contained in deposition exhibit 22 are irrelevant in their entirety. Rather, the documents are relevant to the extent they pertain to Rayl's concerns regarding sales practices similar to Plaintiff's "vanishing premium" allegations at issue in this case. Such evidence is probative as to a pattern and practice on the part of MetLife, or a corporate culture encouraging similar deceptive sales techniques. This probative value is not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to Defendants.*fn5

6. Transcript Pages 253:24-254:18; 259:2-16; 268:25-269:20: Defendants' objections to this testimony are overruled. This testimony pertains directly to Rayl's complaints and concerns regarding sales practices similar to Plaintiff's "vanishing premium" allegations and, thus, is relevant to the issues in this case. I find that this probative value is not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to Defendants.*fn6

7. Transcript Pages 254:19-255:20; 257:17-25; 258:7-13: Defendants' objections to the testimony set forth on these transcript pages are overruled to the extent such testimony identifies relevant deposition exhibits. Defendants' specific objections to the deposition exhibits are addressed below.

8. Rayl Deposition Exhibits 37, 39, 40, 41: Plaintiff indicates in his response to Defendants' objections that he does not intend to introduce these deposition exhibits at trial. See Docket No. 122. Thus, Defendants' objections to these deposition exhibits are moot.

9. Rayl Deposition Exhibit 38:

Deposition exhibit 38 primarily consists of a Rayl memo concerning the Pennsylvania Market Conduct Examination Report. Defendants objections to this portion of the exhibit are overruled.*fn7 To the extent Defendants' argue that this memo is inadmissible because the Pennsylvania Report itself is inadmissible, such argument is unavailing. As set forth in my Opinion and Order dated October 24, 2006 (Docket No. 126), Defendants' motion to exclude the Pennsylvania Report was denied to the extent the report discusses or makes findings concerning sales practices similar to Plaintiff's allegations in this case. Therefore, I cannot exclude deposition exhibit 38 simply because the document to which it relates has been excluded, because it has not. Defendants also argue that deposition exhibit 38 is inadmissible because Rayl's testimony does not account for the unique factual circumstances of this case, and Rayl offers general opinions regarding MetLife that are unsubstantiated, unreliable and irrelevant to the transactions at issue. To the extent exhibit 38 relates to concerns regarding sales practices similar to Plaintiff's "vanishing premium" allegations in this case, this argument fails because such evidence may be relevant in establishing a pattern and practice on the part of MetLife, or a corporate culture encouraging similar deceptive sales techniques. This probative value is not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. See Fed. R. Evid. 401, 402, 403.*fn8

10. Deposition Exhibit 42:

Defendants' objections are overruled to the extent they seek to exclude exhibit 42 to Rayl's deposition testimony in its entirety*fn9 on the basis of irrelevance or prejudice. Insofar as any of the documents contained in exhibit 42 relate to Rayl's concerns regarding sales practices similar to Plaintiff's "vanishing premium" allegations in this case, such evidence is probative and is not unduly prejudicial for the reasons set forth above.

11. Deposition Exhibit 43:

Defendants' objections to this exhibit are sustained. This exhibit consists of two documents: (1) an August 18, 1997 memo to "the field force" from Joseph W. Jordan, MetLife Senior Vice President and an attachment introducing an "AP Option Program"; and (2) an August 25, 1997 e-mail from Rayl to Kathleen Schoos and others regarding the AP Program. As an initial matter, the August 18, 1997 memo was neither written by nor addressed to Rayl. Thus, it is unclear to me how Plaintiff intends to introduce this document via Rayl's deposition at trial. In addition, both documents are dated over six years after the sale of Plaintiff's 1991 policy, and do not outwardly pertain to Plaintiff's transaction and/or the "vanishing premium" allegations set forth in Plaintiff's complaint. Thus, the relevance of the documents to Plaintiff's claims in this case is not apparent. Even if deposition exhibit 43 were relevant, I find that the minimal probative value would be substantially outweighed by the Rule 403 concerns of prejudice, confusion of the issues, misleading the jury, waste of time, and needless presentation of cumulative evidence.

12. Transcript Pages 261:5-262:14; Deposition Exhibit 46: Defendants' objections to exhibit 46 and related deposition testimony are overruled. This testimony and exhibit pertain directly to Rayl's complaints and concerns regarding sales practices similar to Plaintiff's "vanishing premium" allegations and, thus, are relevant to the issues in this case. I find that this probative value is not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to Defendants.

13. Global Objections:

I also disagree with Defendants that the Rayl deposition testimony and/or exhibits to which they object are categorically inadmissible as hearsay.*fn10 Even if offered to establish the truth of the matter asserted, Plaintiff may be able to establish at trial that the exhibits are business records within the meaning of Rule 803(6),*fn11 or are admissible as admissions of a party-opponent, an argument not addressed by Defendants. Fed. R. Evid. 801. Even if the statements are neither admissions nor business records within the meaning of the Rules of Evidence, however, I find that the exhibits to Rayl's deposition may be admissible under the "residual" hearsay exception set forth in Rule 807.*fn12

Defendants' objections are sustained, however, with respect to any portions of the Rayl deposition exhibits that constitute hearsay within hearsay. For example, any statements in a document authored by Rayl as to what a customer said or told him are double hearsay and must be excluded, unless an independent hearsay exception applies. Fed. R. Evid. 805. Plaintiff has not identified any such exceptions.

Finally, Defendants may read into the record the excerpts of Rayl's deposition, identified in their objections, as rebuttal. Plaintiff did not object to these designations in his response.

III. CONCLUSION

For all of these reasons, Defendants' objections to Plaintiff's designations of Rayl's deposition testimony are sustained in part and overruled in part. An appropriate Order follows.

AND NOW, this 13thday of November, 2006, after careful consideration and for the reasons set forth above, the following Order is entered:

1. Defendants' Objections to Plaintiff's Deposition Designations for James Rayl (Docket No. 88) are sustained in part and overruled in part as set forth more fully in the Opinion accompanying this order.

2. Defendants may read into the record the excerpts of James Rayl's deposition, identified in their objections, as rebuttal.

3. Defendants' Motion in Limine to Exclude From Evidence Unrelated Testimony and Exhibits of James Rayl (Docket No. 78) is denied as moot.

Donetta W. Ambrose, Chief U. S. District Judge


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.