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Ross v. Erie Insurance Property and Casualty Co.

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

October 15, 2019

MANUELA M. ROSS and DAVID A. ROSS, Plaintiffs,
v.
ERIE INSURANCE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER CONFIRMING PRONOUNCED ORDER OF THE COURT REGARDING OBJECTIONS TO EXHIBITS AND MOTIONS IN LIMINE

          FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On October 7, 2019, the parties in the above-styled civil action, [1] plaintiffs Manuela M. Ross and David A. Ross (“plaintiffs”) and defendant Erie Insurance Property and Casualty Company (“Erie”), appeared by counsel for a supplemental pretrial conference.[2] At the supplemental pretrial conference, this Court pronounced its rulings on the parties' respective objections to trial exhibits as well as the defendant's ten pending motions in limine.

         This memorandum opinion and order confirms this Court's pronounced rulings made at the supplemental pretrial conference and discusses the parties' objections to trial exhibits and the defendant's motions in limine, in turn, below.

         I. Objections to Trial Exhibits

         As an initial matter, this Court confirms its pronounced ruling that all exhibits to which there was no objection are deemed admitted. Further, this Court confirms its pronounced rulings on the parties' respective objections to exhibits as stated below.

         A. Plaintiffs' Objections to Defendant's Exhibits (ECF No. 61)

         1. Exhibit No. 11 - Objection Sustained

         Plaintiffs filed an objection to defendant's Exhibit No. 11, a May 18, 2016 letter from plaintiffs' counsel to Mr. Eric Paugh of Erie Insurance, arguing that the exhibit is not complete in that it does not contain the “enclosed” Medical Specials Index. In response, defendant agreed to supplement this exhibit under Federal Rule of Evidence 106 and the rule of completeness to include the materials originally enclosed along with the letter. By agreement of the parties, the plaintiffs' objection is sustained.

         2. Exhibit No. 14 - Objection Sustained

         Plaintiffs filed an objection to defendant's Exhibit No. 14 arguing that the exhibit is not complete in that it does not contain the plaintiffs' complete responses to defendant's interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Plaintiffs request the defendant supplement the exhibit, only to a degree of relevancy to avoid an overly voluminous and burdensome exhibit, by adding the Medical Specials Index and the Medical Records Index with corresponding bills. In response, defendant agreed to supplement this exhibit under Federal Rule of Evidence 106 and the rule of completeness to include the materials requested by plaintiffs and to remove the cover letter to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Marshall County, West Virginia. By agreement of the parties, the plaintiff's objection is sustained.

         3. Exhibit No. 17 - Objection Sustained

         Plaintiffs filed an objection to defendant's Exhibit No. 17, a February 14, 2017 letter from plaintiffs' counsel to Erie's counsel, arguing that the exhibit is not complete in that it does not contain the “enclosed” Medical Specials Index. In response, defendant again agreed to supplement this exhibit under Federal Rule of Evidence 106 and the rule of completeness to include the materials originally enclosed along with the letter. By agreement of the parties, the plaintiffs' objection is sustained.

         4. Exhibit No. 20 - Objection Sustained

         Plaintiffs filed an objection to defendant's Exhibit No. 20, the Circuit Court of Marshall County, West Virginia Scheduling Conference Order in the underlying action, arguing that the exhibit is not relevant under Federal Rule of Evidence 401. In response, defendant agreed that the Scheduling Conference Order from the underlying state court action does not need to be admitted into evidence as the defendant can elicit testimony from witnesses at trial as evidence of the pertinent dates and events in the underlying action. By agreement of the parties, the plaintiffs' objection is sustained.

         5. Exhibit No. 21 - Objection Overruled

         Plaintiffs filed an objection to defendant's Exhibit No. 21, a letter dated August 22, 2017 from Thomas S. Muzzonigro, M.D. to Erie's counsel, arguing that the exhibit is misleading and “gives a false impression to the jury” that Dr. Muzzonigro was “unbiased” because it is “improperly labeled” as an “independent medical evaluation” rather than a Report of Rule 35 examination. Upon consideration, this Court finds that the “labeling” of defendant's exhibit will not ...


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