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Wise v. Washington County

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 25, 2014

DAVID D. WISE, Plaintiff,
v.
WASHINGTON COUNTY; CAPTAIN MICHAEL KING, individually and in his capacity as a Washington County Corrections Officer; C.O. MARK KELLY, individually and in his capacity as a Washington County Corrections Officer; VICTORIA GORONCY, individually and in her capacity as a Washington County Corrections Nurse; and LAVERNE ROSSI, individually and in her capacity as a Washington County Corrections Nurse; Defendants.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

NORA BARRY FISCHER, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This is a civil rights case, in which Plaintiff David D. Wise is suing the Washington County Correctional Facility (hereinafter "WCCF"), as well as four individual Defendants who are WCCF employees. (Docket No. 29). Plaintiff brings his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to be receive adequate medical care while he was incarcerated at the WCCF. ( Id. ). A jury trial is set to commence on April 7, 2014. (Docket No. 182).

Presently before the Court are two pending motions. First, on March 3, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion in Limine to Exclude any Reference at Trial to Plaintiff's Criminal Record (Docket No. 205), which the parties have fully briefed. (Docket Nos. 211; 220; 225). Second, Defendants filed a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Motion in Limine on March 10, 2014 (Docket No. 210), to which Plaintiff responded (Docket Nos. 214, 215). Upon the Court's consideration of these filings, and for the reasons set out below, Defendant's Motion to Strike (Docket No. 210) is denied, and Plaintiff's Motion in Limine (Docket No. 205) is granted, in part, and denied, in part.

II. DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE [206]

Initially, the Court considers Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Motion in Limine , wherein Defendants assert that said Motion in Limine was filed without the certificate of conferral required by the Local Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docket No. 210 at 1). See LCvR 16.1.C.4; 37.1; 37.2 (eff. Feb. 2, 2013), available at http://www.pawd.uscourts.gov/Documents/Forms/lrmanual.pdf. See also Practices and Procedures of Judge Nora Barry Fischer , § II.N (eff. Feb. 5, 2013), available at http://www.pawd.uscourts.gov/Documents/Judge/fischer_pp.pdf. In response, Plaintiff avers that counsel for Plaintiff met with counsel for Defendants on February 28, 2014-prior to filing the Motion in Limine -and conferred on the issues underlying said Motion. (Docket No. 215 at 1-2). Additionally, Plaintiff notes that the Motion references this meeting, stating: "Undersigned counsel conferred at the offices of counsel for the Defendants on February 28, 2014 regarding this motion to no avail." ( Id. at 2, ¶ 5 (citing Docket No. 205 at ¶ 6)). Plaintiff additionally filed the appropriate Certificate of Conferral on March 10, 2014, explaining in his Response that counsel had overlooked the requirement to file said Certificate concurrent with his Motion in Limine . ( Id. at ¶¶ 6-7).

The Court accepts the representations of Plaintiff's counsel and further recognizes that although the Motion in Limine Certificate was not properly filed as required by local rules, the underlying requirement-meeting and conferral-did occur, in person, "in an effort to resolve [the parties'] disputes prior to filing such motion." See Practices and Procedures of Judge Nora Barry Fischer , § II.N. Accordingly, in light of same and given the discretion of this Court, Defendants' Motion to Strike, (Docket No. 210), is denied.

III. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE [205]

A. Background

By way of background, Mr. Wise suffers from a long-standing seizure disorder. (Docket No. 180). In this lawsuit, he claims that Defendants violated his civil rights related to an alleged lack of or delayed medical care relating to seizures that he allegedly suffered while incarcerated at the WCCF. (Docket No. 29). In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff includes several allegations that Defendants were aware of his seizure disorder. ( Id. at ¶¶ 13, 21(a), 34, 35, 43(a)).

In fact, Mr. Wise was incarcerated following a conviction for vehicular manslaughter, stemming from an incident in which Mr. Wise seized while driving-having not taken his medication as prescribed-and killed passengers in another car. (Docket No. 155); Commonwealth v. Wise , CP-63-CR-0001211-2009 (Ct. Comm. Pl. Wash. Cnty.), http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/CPReport.ashx?docketNumber=CP-63-CR-0001211-2009. The accident occurred on September 13, 2006, id. , but it was not until April 23, 2010 that Mr. Wise entered a guilty plea under 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3742.[1] Id.

During the pendency of the present civil rights case, the Court conducted multiple pretrial conferences. (Docket Nos. 144; 180). As part of these proceedings, Plaintiff had consented to the admission into evidence of various of his medical records, including records that referenced his seizure disorder as well as his conviction for vehicular homicide. ( See e.g. , Joint Exhibit Binder, Ex. J-4 at 6).

In his Motion in Limine , Plaintiff now urges the Court, for the first time, to exclude his vehicular homicide conviction and the facts underlying said conviction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 403, in that he maintains that the prejudicial effect of such evidence outweighs any probative value. (Docket No. 205 at 2-3, ¶¶ 3-4; Docket No. 220). In Response, Defendants assert that Mr. Wise's conviction should be ...


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