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McIntosh v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

August 14, 2019

BRYAN MCINTOSH, Plaintiff,
v.
GREATER CLEVELAND REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' Motions in Limine. The Court will address each motion below.

         Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Plaintiff's Prior Lawsuits Unrelated to His Claims Against Defendant. (ECF # 65).

         Plaintiff asks the Court to exclude from trial the introduction of any evidence or testimony concerning Plaintiff's past lawsuits or legal actions that are unrelated to his employment with Defendant. Specifically, Plaintiff requests that the Court preclude Defendant from introducing at trial any evidence concerning his prior lawsuit with Kevin Conwell or his involvement with prior creditor lawsuits. According to Plaintiff, such evidence is irrelevant to the claims in this case, would substantially prejudice Plaintiff and is impermissible character evidence which must be excluded.

         Defendant opposes the Motion, contending that Plaintiff left work with RTA for three hours to testify at the Conwell trial. Conwell was indicted for assaulting Plaintiff. Plaintiff told his supervisor Campbell he would return and make up the hours rather than go unpaid for the time he missed. When he returned, Plaintiff told Campbell to designate the time off as “jury duty” which Campbell refused but instead instructed Plaintiff he could leave a half hour early. Plaintiff left at 5:30 in spite of Campbell's instruction he could leave at 6:00. Campbell then issued Plaintiff a written reminder for leaving earlier than Plaintiff was given permission to leave. Thus, the issue is highly relevant to Defendant's defense that Plaintiff was not terminated due to his race but rather because he was a poor employee.

         Defendant does not oppose the Motion insofar as it seeks to preclude Plaintiff's past creditor suits or other lawsuits. Held: The Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion concerning the Conwell lawsuit as it is relevant to Plaintiff's performance as an employee but GRANTS with regards to the creditor suits and any prior lawsuits involving Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Plaintiff's Instagram Account. (ECF # 66).

         Plaintiff seeks to preclude Defendant from introducing any evidence or testimony related to Plaintiff's Instagram account. Plaintiff contends Defendant wants to offer Plaintiff's Instagram account into evidence to show Plaintiff was late for work or had attendance issues resulting, in part, from his attendance at events or outings referenced on his Instagram account. However, because Plaintiff was not an hourly employee but was a salaried employee, he was subject to a flex-time schedule and was not subject to RTA's attendance procedures and could not be disciplined for attendance infractions. Thus, it has no probative value.

         Defendant opposes the Motion because Plaintiff's stated reasons for opposing the introduction of his Instagram posts runs contrary to the arguments he made previously in this case that Plaintiff's attendance issues were related to the workplace discipline he received. Thus, Defendant argues it should be permitted to present evidence from Plaintiff's Instagram account showing his attendance issues were related, in part, to staying out late and attending various social events, causing Plaintiff to be absent of tardy the following day.

         Held: The Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion. The Instagram posts are relevant and probative of Plaintiff's work performance and subsequent discipline, which are disputed issues in the case, as is the issue of whether Plaintiff was subject to a flex-schedule.

         Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Religious Discrimination. (ECF # 69).

         Defendant seeks to preclude Plaintiff from offering into evidence statements made by Plaintiff's supervisor, Frank Campbell, while employed at RTA that “Muslims should be nuked and exterminated from the world” and that the Quran is “taking over the world.” Defendant argues that Plaintiff, a Muslim, has dismissed his claim for religious discrimination, thus, any anti-Islamic statements are irrelevant to the claims remaining in the case and their probative value is outweighed by their prejudicial effect.

         Plaintiff opposes the Motion, contending they are relevant to Plaintiff's Retaliation claim. Plaintiff filed his first Complaint for discrimination with the RTA EEO department solely based on religious discrimination arising, in part, on Campbell's statements. Plaintiff's federal and Ohio Retaliation claims are based on his complaining about both race and religious discrimination. Thus, in order for the jury to understand the reasons behind Plaintiff's first EEO filing Campbell's statements provide the necessary context and basis. Therefore, the statements are relevant to Plaintiff's Retaliation claim and should be permitted into evidence.

         Held: The Court GRANTS, IN PART, Defendant's Motion. Because the basis for Plaintiff's Retaliation claim arises from his complaints about discrimination based on his religion and race, the statements are relevant to his claims. However, because Plaintiff dismissed his religious discrimination claim, any probative value of Campbell's discriminatory statements based on religion are far outweighed by their prejudicial effect and would serve to confuse the jury. Thus, Plaintiff may testify that he filed a complaint with ...


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