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Deitrick v. Costa

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

August 19, 2019

DONNA DEITRICK Plaintiff
v.
MARK A. COSTA, et-al Defendants

          MEMORANDUM (DOC. 528)

          Arbuckle, Magistrate Judge

         BACKGROUND

         Before the Court is a Motion in Limine (Doc. 528). Briefs have been filed (Doc.s 529 and 535) and the matter is ripe for decision. The case in this court began in August of 2006. The underlying events took place between 2003 and 2005. Parts of these facts from this case have been in no less than six different courts. Most parties have had at least one change of counsel, just in this court, over the last thirteen (13) years. Claims are made by Donna Deitrick against her ex-husband, Robert Yoncuski, and several others, for restitution and psycological injury arising from the theft of her personal property. On the eve of trial, the moving Defendants have discovered what they perceive as a potential defense: “this case was decided ten years ago.” The motion questions the application of res judicata and collateral estoppel to issues in a federal court civil conspiracy and conversion case from a state court divorce case.

         For the reasons that follow the Motion in Limine to preclude proof of the value of the items in the stolen safe will be DENIED.

         RELIEF REQUESTED

         Defendants' Motion in Limine seeks an Order precluding any further testimony or evidence concerning the value of the contents of the safe based upon either res judicata or collateral estoppel. Plaintiff responds that relief should be denied on both procedural and substantive grounds.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants, in their Motion in Limine, raise five questions for the Court to consider:[1]

1. Whether the issue of the value of the safe's contents has already been litigated by a court of competent jurisdiction?
2. Whether the contents of the safe were taken into consideration by a court of competent jurisdiction in rendering a final judgment in equitable distribution between Plaintiff and Defendant Robert Yoncuski?
3. Whether plaintiff was a party in the divorce case that resulted in an equitable distribution award that considered the dissipation of the safe's contents?
4. Whether plaintiff has had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue of the value of the safe's contents in the divorce case?
5. Whether the determination of the value of the safe's contents was essential to the judgment on ...

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