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Evans v. Cernics, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 26, 2017

GARY EVANS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
CERNICS, INC. d/b/a CERNICS SUZUKI, JEFFREY CERNIC, and EDWARD CERNIC, JR., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KIM R. GIBSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          I. Introduction

         Pending before this Court are: (1) Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Seeking to Exclude Any Evidence About or Concerning Defendants' Political Affiliations (ECF No. 61), (2) Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Seeking to Exclude Any Evidence About or Concerning Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants' Motion in Opposition, and This Honorable Court's Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion (ECF No. 62), and (3) Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Exclude Any Reference to Any Findings, Conclusions, and/or Determinations, or Lack Thereof, by the PHRC, [1] EEOC, [2] and the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Office. (ECF No. 60.)

         II. Background

         This is a disability discrimination action.[3] In early 2010, Plaintiff began working as the general manager for Defendant Cernics, Inc., a business owned by Defendants Jeff Cernic and Ed Cernic, Jr. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants terminated his employment in late 2012 when Plaintiff informed Defendants that he was being treated for heart-related medical conditions, despite the fact that Plaintiff could have performed the essential functions of his job with a reasonable accommodation. Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act ("PHRA") by refusing to accommodate his disabilities, terminating him because of his actual and/or perceived medical conditions, and retaliating against him for exercising his rights under the ADA. (ECF No. 1.)

         III. Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Regarding Defendants' Political Affiliations

         Evidence about Defendants' political affiliations is irrelevant in this case. Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, evidence is relevant if "(a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action." Fed.R.Evid. 401. Irrelevant evidence is inadmissible. Fed.R.Evid. 402. Evidence about Defendants' political affiliations is irrelevant because it does not make it more or less probable that Defendants discriminated and/or retaliated against Plaintiff in violation of the ADA and the PHRA.[4]

         Accordingly, this Court will GRANT Plaintiffs Motion in Limine Seeking to Exclude Any Evidence About or Concerning Defendants' Political Affiliations. (ECF No. 61.)

         B. Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Regarding This Court's Ruling on Summary Judgment

          Evidence about this Court's decision to deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment should be excluded. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 403, "[t]he court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence." Fed.R.Evid. 403. As Plaintiff correctly observes, a jury presented with evidence about this Court's ruling on summary judgment might infer that, because this Court held that a reasonable jury could find for Defendants, the jury should find for Defendants at trial. Obviously, this inference would unfairly prejudice and bias Plaintiff. Moreover, presenting evidence about summary judgment would likely confuse the issues, as the standard for summary judgment is different from the standard of proof a party must satisfy to prevail at trial. Therefore, the probative value of this Court's denial of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, bias, and confusing the issues.[5]

         Accordingly, this Court will GRANT Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Seeking to Exclude Any Evidence About or Concerning Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants' Motion in Opposition, and This Honorable Court's Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion. (ECF No. 62.)

         C. Plaintiff's Motion in Limine Regarding the Findings, Conclusions, and/or Determinations or Lack Thereof of the PHRC, EEOC, and the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Office

         Plaintiff's third final Motion in Limine is styled as a Motion to exclude findings, conclusions, and/or determinations by the PHRE, the EEOC, and the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Office. (See ECF No. 60.) However, as Defendants observe, the last paragraph of Plaintiff's Brief in Support of his Motion in Limine (ECF No. 63) seeks to exclude an additional type of evidence-any "evidence regarding Plaintiff applying for, seeking ...unemployment benefits...". (Id. at 9.) Evidence concerning the findings, conclusions, and determinations by governmental agencies is distinct ...


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