United States District Court, D. Nebraska
RICHARDSON INTERNATIONAL (US) LIMITED, and NATIONWIDE AGRIBUSINESS INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiffs,
BUHLER INC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. Bataillon, Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the court on motions in limine filed by
defendant Buhler Inc.'s (“Buhler”),
Filing No. 92, and plaintiffs Richardson
International (US) Limited and Nationwide Agribusiness
Insurance Company's (collectively,
“Plaintiff” or “Richardson”)
Filing No. 96.
the motion in limine is an important tool available to the
trial judge to ensure the expeditious and evenhanded
management of the trial proceedings, performing a gatekeeping
function and sharpening the focus for later trial
proceedings, some evidentiary submissions, cannot be
evaluated accurately or sufficiently by the trial judge in
such a procedural environment. Jonasson v. Lutheran Child
and Family Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997). A
motion in limine is appropriate for “evidentiary
submissions that clearly ought not be presented to the jury
because they clearly would be inadmissible for any
purpose.” Id.In other instances, it is
necessary to defer ruling until during trial, when the trial
judge can better estimate the impact of the evidence on the
jury. Id.To the extent that a party challenges the
probative value of the evidence, an attack upon the probative
sufficiency of evidence relates not to admissibility but to
the weight of the evidence and is a matter for the trier of
fact to resolve. United States v. Beasley, 102 F.3d
1440, 1451 (8th Cir. 1996).
Real Party in Interest
first asserts that because it has been fully compensated for
its loss Richardson is not the real party in interest and
should be removed from the case under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 17(a).
resists the motion in part, contending that both Richardson
and Nationwide are real parties in interest in this matter.
Plaintiff suggests that it be named as “Nationwide
Agribusiness Insurance Company, as subrogated party for the
rights and interests of Richardson International.”
Buhler accedes to the change. Accordingly, the motion will be
denied as moot.
Legal Requirement for Automatic Fire Suppression
argues that Plaintiff should be precluded from presenting
arguments or evidence at trial that there was a legal
requirement in Nebraska for automatic fire suppression in the
dryer at issue because it claims that there is no
“admissible expert testimony on the subject of the
proper interpretation of the 1999 version of NFPA 86.”
In its reply brief, Buhler clarifies that it “does not
seek to exclude testimony to the effect that NFPA 86 (1999)
was the applicable code in Nebraska, which is an unremarkable
and undisputed fact, ” rather, it seeks to exclude
arguments about the proper interpretation and application of
NFPA 86 (1999) to the dryer at issue. It contends the
interpretation of the code provision requires expert
testimony and argues that there is no admissible evidence to
support the argument. Specifically, it requests preclusion of
the argument in opening statements.
court finds the motion should be denied at this time. There
is some evidence in the record concerning the requirements of
the 1999 version of NFPA 86. The court cannot evaluate the
evidence in the context of a motion in limine. Of course, any
party, in opening statements, who refers to evidence later,
found inadmissible or unsupported by evidence does so at its
peril. To the extent any of the witnesses offer expert
testimony on legal matters, a proper objection may be
sustained at trial. See S. Pine Helicopters,
Inc. v. Phoenix Aviation Managers, Inc., 320 F.3d 838,
841 (8th Cir. 2003)(noting that expert testimony on
legal matters is not admissible, matters of law are for the
trial judge, and it is the judge's job to instruct the
jury on them). Accordingly, the defendant's motion will
be denied, without prejudice to reassertion at trial.
contends that Richardson should be precluded from presenting
arguments or evidence at trial regarding “alternative
warnings or instructions, ” arguing that Richardson has
not offered related expert opinion on that subject. In
response, Richardson contends it properly intends to offer
the opinions of Dr. Richard Schnell as set forth in his
report. This court's ruling on the defendant's
Daubert motion is dispositive of this issue.
Accordingly, the defendant's motion will be denied.
Fire Marshal Report
seeks a determination that the Fire Marshal Report is
admissible at trial as a public record under Federal Rule of
Evidence 803(8). Rule 803(8) is the hearsay exception for the
factual findings of a ...