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Talley v. Burt

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

November 7, 2019

QUINTEZ TALLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
J. BURT, ANKRAM, and WETTGEN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          Cynthia Reed Eddy Chief United States Magistrate Judge

         AND NOW, this 7th day of November, 2019, presently for consideration before the Court are the following:

         (1) The parties' cross-motions in limine to exclude each other's expert witnesses (ECF Nos. 173 and 184);

         (2) Plaintiff's motion in limine to exclude mental health records (ECF No. 175);

         (3) Plaintiff's motion in limine to exclude evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or other acts (ECF No. 178);

         (4) Plaintiff's motion in limine to exclude undisclosed expert testimony (ECF No. 180);

         (5) Plaintiff's motion in limine to exclude evidence regarding Plaintiff's other lawsuits and complaints (ECF No. 182);

         (6) Defendants' motion in limine to preclude award of compensatory damages (ECF No. 169);

         (7) Defendants' motion in limine to preclude any evidence of the Disability Rights Network Settlement Agreement and the Testimony of Angus Love and Alexandra Morgan-Kurtz (ECF No. 170);

         (8) Defendants' motion in limine to preclude testimony of Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel (ECF No. 171);

         (9) Defendants' motion in limine to allow testimony and evidence of Plaintiff's misconducts (ECF No. 172);

         (10) Defendants' motion to preclude testimony of Major Curtis Grice and Lt. Matthew Luciano (ECF No. 177);

         (11) Defendants' motion in limine to preclude punitive damages (ECF No. 186); and (12) Defendants' motion in limine to preclude any evidence of the Department of Justice Investigation (ECF No. 190).

         The motions are fully briefed and ripe for disposition. Each motion will be address in seriatim.

         1. Plaintiff's motion in limine to exclude purported expert opinions of Jason Roof, M.D. (ECF No. 173) and Defendants' motion in limine to preclude the trial testimony of Plaintiff's expert Harry Krop, Ph.D. (ECF No. 184).

         The parties have filed cross-motions in limine to exclude each other's expert witnesses. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 702, courts must allow expert testimony when “(1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.” These requirements are often referred to in shorthand as “qualification, reliability, and fit.” See, e.g., In re Unisys Sav. Plan Litig., 173 F.3d 145, 156 (3d Cir.1999). Under the rule announced in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993) and expanded in Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999), district courts must ensure that experts-scientific and otherwise-will offer testimony that is methodologically sound and relevant to the facts of the case before admitting their expert testimony. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 590-91; Kumho, 526 U.S. at 149.

         After reviewing the expert reports and the arguments of counsel, the Court finds that it is clear from the reports that the testimony of the proposed experts are not relevant and, therefore, will not be helpful to resolving this case.

         Defendants seek to preclude the testimony of Plaintiff's expert, Harry Krop, Ph.D., who opines “regarding the differential diagnosis of Plaintiff's mental health conditions, ” ECF No. 199 at 2, and as to what Plaintiff's mental health diagnosis should have been in 2015, based on an evaluation of Plaintiff conducted on May 17, 2019. The Court agrees with Defendants that such an opinion is not relevant, is speculative and confuses the issue involved in the case. The only issue for the jury to consider is whether or not Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff by adjusting his stability code after Plaintiff filed a grievance. There is no allegation that Defendants in this case incorrectly diagnosed Plaintiff or failed to provide Plaintiff with proper treatment. Allowing Dr. Krop to opine as to Plaintiff's diagnosis runs the danger of misleading the jury, confusing the issues, and undue delay pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 403.

         Similarly, Plaintiff seeks to preclude the testimony of Defendants' expert, Jason Roof, M.D., who opines based on his review of Plaintiff's medical records that Plaintiff did not suffer from a mental illness as defined by the DOC Mental Health Policy and thus did not met the criteria for D-Code inmates. However, as the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has recently stated, “[w]hat is good for the goose is good for the gander.” Shifflett v. Korszniak, 934 F.3d 356, 367 (3d Cir. 2019). Again, this case does not involve a question of whether or not Plaintiff was misdiagnosed or whether or not Plaintiff received appropriate mental health care. This only issue for the jury is whether or not Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff by adjusting his stability code after he filed a grievance. Dr. Roof's proffered testimony suffers from the same infirmities as that of Dr. Krop's proffered testimony. To allow Dr. Roof to opine as to whether or not Plaintiff warranted a D Stability Code runs the danger of misleading the jury, confusing the issues and undue delay pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 403.

         For all these reasons, the parties' cross-motions in limine to exclude each other's expert witnesses are GRANTED.

         2. Plaintiff's motion in limine to exclude mental health records (ECF No. 175).

         Plaintiff requests that the Court exclude all of Plaintiff's mental health records pre-dating May 13, 2015 as being irrelevant and unduly prejudicial and all his mental health records post-dated May 13, 2015 as being irrelevant. Plaintiff also argues that his mental health records are subject to the psychotherapist-patient privilege. Finally, ...


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