DIDONNA v. WAL-MART STORES

2004 | Cited 0 times | D. Maine | January 21, 2004

ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION IN LIMINE

Defendant Wal-Mart has filed a Motion In Limine to exclude theaffidavit of Paul Pierce, Maine Human Rights Investigator, and thedecisions and proceedings of the Maine Human Rights Commission forpurposes of the pending motion for summary judgment and for trialpurposes. The court has not considered the Pierce affidavit in its rulingon the motion for summary judgment and, therefore, it is not necessary torule on this portion of the Defendant's motion.

Regarding the question of the admissibility of the decisions andproceedings of the Maine Human Rights Commission at the time of trial,there is insufficient information concerning the material the Plaintiffmight seek to introduce, the context of the evidence, and the purpose ofits admission for this court to rule at this time. The court will notefor the benefit of the parties that it does not view the Patten v.Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 300 F.3d 21 (1st Cir. 2002) case as mandating thewholesale exclusion of all Maine Human Rights Commission material. ThePatten Court upheld Judge Hornby's refusal to admit into evidence aright-to-sue letter from the Maine Human Rights Commission as withinPage 2his discretion under a Rule 403 balancing analysis. Patten, 300 F.3d at27 (". . . the district court's exclusion reflects a tacit balancingunder Rule 403"). In Patten, the First Circuit refused to adopt a rule ofper se admissibility of the investigative file and instead allowed thedistrict court to function as an independent fact-finder on acase-by-case basis. Id. at 26-27 quoting Smith v. Massachusetts Instituteof Technology, 877 F.2d 1106, 1113 (1st Cir. 1989). The Patten court'srefusal to adopt a rule of per se admissibility does not imply itsadoption of a rule of per se exclusion.Page 1

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