United States District Court, D. Columbia.
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For JUDITH BARNETT, Plaintiff: Douglas B. Huron, Richard A. Salzman, LEAD ATTORNEYS, HELLER, HURON, CHERTKOF, LERNER, SIMON & SALZMAN, Washington, DC; Katherine Wallat, PRO HAC VICE, HELLER, HURON, CHERTKOF & SALZMAN, Washington, DC.
For PA CONSULTING GROUP, INC., Defendant: Elizabeth A. Lalik, LEAD ATTORNEY, Thomas J. Flaherty, LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C., McLean, VA; Joon Hwang, PRO HAC VICE, LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C., McLean, VA; Lindsey H. McGinnis, LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C., Washington, DC.
ORDER REGARDING PRETRIAL MOTIONS
Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, U.S. District Court Judge.
Plaintiff Judith Barnett (hereinafter " Plaintiff" ) brought this lawsuit against Defendant PA Consulting Group, Inc. (hereinafter " PA" or " Defendant" ), alleging age and gender discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (" ADEA" ) and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (" DCHRA" ). The matter is set for trial before a jury beginning on March 12, 2014. The following matters are currently before the Court:
1. Defendant's Motion in Limine to exclude certain evidence pertaining to some of Plaintiff's damage claims and to exclude certain documents related to Plaintiff's termination (Dkt. No. 79);
2. Defendant's Motion in Limine to exclude two of Plaintiff's former co-workers, Anita Mosner and Edmund Pinto, as witnesses at trial (Dkt. No. 95);
3. The parties' submissions on whether, George Novak, another one of Plaintiff's former co-workers, should be permitted to testify at trial (Dkt. Nos. 94 and 96); and
4. The parties' submissions on whether back pay damages should be calculated using the " periodic" or " aggregate" method and whether an award of such damages is within the sole discretion of this Court (Dkt. Nos. 90, 97, and 99).
Having reviewed the pleadings, as well as the relevant legal precedent, this Court:
1. DENIES Defendant's Motion in Limine to exclude certain evidence related to Plaintiff's damage claims and certain documents related to Plaintiff's termination (Dkt. No. 79);
2. GRANTS Defendant's Motion in Limine to exclude Mosner as a witness and takes under advisement the motion with respect to Pinto (Dkt. No. 95);
3. GRANTS Defendant's request to exclude Mr. Novak's lay opinion testimony (Dkt. No. 96); and
4. FINDS that the " periodic" method of calculation is the proper method
for calculating back pay damages and either a judge or jury may award such damages for DCHRA and/or private sector ADEA claims.
The reasoning for this Court's determinations is set forth below.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Motions in limine are designed to narrow the evidentiary issues at trial. Williams v. Johnson, 747 F.Supp.2d 10, 14 (D.D.C. 2010). The Federal Rules of Evidence generally permit the admission of " relevant evidence" -- i.e., evidence having " any tendency" to make the existence of any fact of consequence more probable or less probable--provided it is not otherwise excluded by the Rules, the Constitution, or an Act of Congress, and its probative value is not " substantially outweighed" by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or the needless presentation of cumulative evidence. Id. (citing Fed.R.Evid. 401-03). However, " [f]actual questions should not be resolved through motions in limine. " Graves v. District of Columbia, 850 F.Supp.2d 6, 11 (D.D.C. 2011) (quoting Goldman v. Healthcare Mgmt. Sys., Inc., 559 F.Supp.2d 853, 871 (W.D. Mich. 2008)). Nor is a motion in limine a " vehicle for a party to ask the Court to weigh the sufficiency of the evidence." Id. (quoting Bowers v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 563 F.Supp.2d 508, 532 (D.N.J. 2008)). Rather, parties should target their arguments to demonstrating why certain items or categories of evidence should (or should not) be introduced at trial, and direct the trial judge to specific evidence in the record that would favor or disfavor the introduction of those particular items or categories of evidence. Id. (citing U.S. ex rel. El--Amin v. George Washington Univ., 533 F.Supp.2d 12, 19 (D.D.C. 2008)). In short, motions in limine are a means for arguing why " evidence should or should not, for evidentiary reasons, be introduced at trial." Williams, 747 F.Supp.2d at 18 (emphasis in original).
Trial judges are afforded broad discretion in rendering evidentiary rulings. Sprint/United Mgmt. Co. v. Mendelsohn, 552 U.S. 379, 384, 128 S.Ct. 1140, 170 L.Ed.2d 1 (2008) (noting that deference is owed to trial judges due to their familiarity with the case and greater experience in evidentiary matters). The trial judge's discretion extends not only to the substantive evidentiary ruling, but also to the threshold question of whether a motion in limine presents an evidentiary issue that is appropriate for ruling in advance of trial. Graves, 850 F.Supp.2d at 11 (citing United States v. Valencia, 826 F.2d 169, 172 (2d Cir.1987)); accord United States v. Layton, 720 F.2d 548, 553 (9th Cir.1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1069, 104 S.Ct. 1423, 79 L.Ed.2d 748 (1984), and overruled on other grounds by United States v. W.R. Grace, 526 F.3d 499 (9th Cir. 2008). The trial judge has the " discretion to rule in limine or to await developments at trial before ruling." Graves, 850 F.Supp.2d at 11 (citing Stephen A. Saltzburg et al., FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE MANUAL § 103.02 (9th ed. 2006)).
A. Defendant's First Motion in Limine
In its first motion in limine, Defendant moves this Court for an order prohibiting Plaintiff from offering evidence or argument ...