United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Jolson, Magistrate Judge.
OPINION & ORDER
ALGENON L. MARBLEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant, John Jack's
(“Jack”) Motion in Limine to Exclude
South Park Ventures, LLC's (“SPV”) and Dean
Grose's (“Grose”) Claimed Damages and
Business Valuation expert, Rebekah A. Smith, CPA, CFF, CVA,
MAFF (“Motion”). (ECF No. 184). For the following
reasons, this Court DENIES Defendant's
facts of this case have been set out, in detail, on numerous
occasions, and only the following factual summary is
necessary at this time.
Jack is the manager and a member of Tri-State Disposal, LLC
(“Tri-State”). In addition to Mr. Jack, two other
individuals and a separate LLC-Horizon Partners Investments,
LLC (“Horizon”)-are members of Tri-State. (ECF
No. 27-1). Jack is also a 50% member of Horizon. Through this
direct and indirect membership interest in Tri-State, Jack
owns approximately 45% of the membership interests in
Tri-State. Dean Grose is a partial owner of South Park
Ventures, LLC (“SPV”) and controls SPV's
2015, SPV and Tri-State agreed to form Water Energy Services,
LLC (“WES”). Under this agreement, Tri-State and
SPV each owned 50% of WES. Additionally, each LLC appointed
one member to WES's two-person board. SPV appointed Dean
Grose, and Tri-State appointed John Jack. Jack and Grose were
responsible for different aspects of the management of WES.
In addition to Jack's position on the Board, Jack was the
CEO of WES. Grose did not have an additional formal title or
role within WES other than his position on the Board.
business relationship quickly soured and various lawsuits
were instituted in state and federal court. Jack and
Tri-State now allege that Grose and SPV were trying to oust
them from the company (among other things), and Grose and SPV
allege the same about Jack and Tri-State. The case is set for
trial on September 3, 2019. This motion in limine
was filed with the court on August 12, 2019.
general rule, “a court should exclude evidence on a
motion in limine only when that evidence is
determined to be clearly inadmissible on all potential
grounds.” Delay v. Rosenthal Collins Grp.,
LLC, No. 2:07-CV-568, 2012 WL 5878873, at *2 (S.D. Ohio
Nov. 21, 2012). Thus, when the “court is unable to
determine whether . . . certain evidence is clearly
inadmissible, evidentiary rulings should be deferred until
trial so that questions of foundation, relevancy and
potential prejudice can be resolved in the proper
context.” Id. Whether to grant a motion in
limine falls within the sound discretion of the trial
court. Delay, 2012 WL 5878873, at *2.
presumption of admissibility is particularly strong in a
bench trial. Bank One, N.A. v. Echo Acceptance
Corp., No. 04-CV-318, 2008 WL 1766891, at *1 (S.D.Ohio
Apr.11, 2008). “Without the fear that prejudicial or
improper evidence will taint the jury, courts are even more
inclined to take a wait-and-see approach.” Id.
Moreover, “motions in limine yield only
interlocutory decisions, which are not binding on the Court
at the bench trial where any and all issues that were raised
or could have been raised in a motion in limine are
subject to renewed consideration.” Cooey v.
Strickland, Case Nos. 2:04-cv-1156, 2:09-cv-242,
2:09-cv-823, 2:10- cv-27, 2011 WL 320166, at *2 (S.D. Ohio
Jan 28, 2011).
relevant evidence is admissible. Fed.R.Evid. 402. Evidence is
relevant if “it has any tendency to make a fact more or
less probable, ” and “the fact is of consequence
in determining the action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. “The
standard for relevancy is ‘extremely liberal' . . .
.” Dortch v. Fowler, 588 F.3d 396, 400 (6th
Cir. 2009) (internal citation omitted). “[A] piece of
evidence does not need to carry a party's evidentiary
burden in order to be relevant; it simply has to advance the
ball.” Id. at 401. Additionally, evidence can
be relevant even if it does not relate to a fact in dispute,
provided the evidence supplies background information about a
party or issue. See Advisory Committee Notes to 1972
Proposed Rules (“Evidence which is essentially
background in nature can scarcely be said to involve disputed
matter, yet it is universally offered and admitted as an aid
to understanding.”). Relevant evidence is admissible
unless excluded under a specific provision of the
Constitution, a federal statute, Federal Rules of Evidence,
or other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court. Fed.R.Evid.
403 can operate to bar otherwise relevant evidence. Rule 403
grants trial courts discretion to exclude evidence “if
its probative value is substantially outweighed” by the
risk of “unfair prejudice, confusing the issues,
misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly
presenting cumulative evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 403.