United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
SOLOMON OLIVER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending before the court in the above-captioned case are two
motions in limine by Plaintiffs Ahmed Al-Menhali
(“Al-Menhali”) and Taghrid Milki (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”): Motion to Preclude Evidence,
Argument, or Testimony Concerning Plaintiffs' Claims
against Avon Police Officer Witnesses and Summary Judgment in
their Favor (“Motion Concerning Summary
Judgment”) (ECF No. 81); and Motion Concerning
Apportionment of Damages to Police Defendants (“Motion
Concerning Apportionment”) (ECF No. 100). For the
following reasons, the court denies in part and grants in
part Plaintiffs' Motion Concerning Summary Judgment.
However, the court denies Plaintiffs' Motion Concerning
initiated this lawsuit on May 24, 2017, after an incident
which occurred at Fairfield Inn in Avon, Ohio, on June 29,
2016, resulting in Al-Menhali's seizure by police
officers of the City of Avon. The Complaint lists Alexis
Silva (“Silva”) and Laura Acton-Bell
(“Acton-Bell”) (collectively, “Employee
Defendants”); Marriott International, Inc.
(“Marriott”), Inn on the River's Edge, L.P.
(“River's Edge”), and Fairfield Inn &
Suites Avon (“Fairfield Inn”) (collectively,
“Hotel Defendants”); and Lieutenant Dan
Fischbach, Officer Csaba Hortobagyi, Officer Chris Barton,
Officer Nick Sidor, Officer Richard Smith, Officer Troy
Goscewski, and the City of Avon (collectively, “Avon
Defendants”) as defendants. A more detailed account of
the event giving rise to this case is provided in the
court's Orders of September 25, 2018, and March 29, 2019.
(Orders, ECF Nos. 65, 67.)
February 20, 2018, Avon Defendants filed their Motion for
Summary Judgment (Avon Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 34),
which the court granted. (See Order, ECF No. 65.)
Although the court found that Avon Defendants conducted an
unlawful arrest and used excessive force when they detained
Al-Menhali, thereby violating Al-Menhali's constitutional
rights, the court also found that the law was not clearly
established on June 29, 2016, when the incident in question
occurred. (Id.) Consequently, the court found that
Avon Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity and
granted summary judgment in their favor. (Id.)
Defendants and Hotel Defendants also sought summary judgment
in separate motions filed on June 15, 2018 (Employee
Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 41; Marriott's Mot.
Summ. J., ECF No. 42; River's Edge and Fairfield
Inn's Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 43). The court issued an
Order on March 29, 2019, denying in part and granting in part
Defendants' Motions. (Order, ECF No. 67.) Following the
court's Order, several of Plaintiffs' alleged claims
against Employee Defendants and Hotel Defendants remained for
10, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a consolidated motion that
included three separate motions in limine. (ECF No.
81.) The court decided two of those motions in its Order of
September 5, 2019 (Order, ECF No. 125), which left only
Plaintiffs' Motion Concerning Summary Judgment to be
resolved. Plaintiffs' Motion Concerning Summary Judgment
seeks to exclude any testimony regarding the court's
Order granting summary judgment for Avon Defendants.
(Pl's Mot. Concerning Summ. J. at 3-4, ECF No. 81.) In a
response filed on July 3, 2019, Hotel Defendants asserted
that they “have no plans to advise the jury that the
Avon Police Officers were granted summary judgment, ”
however, they “reserved the right” to do so
depending on the evidence and arguments Plaintiffs present at
trial. (Hotel Defs.' Opp'n at 4, ECF No. 85.)
Employee Defendants did not directly respond to
Plaintiffs' Motion Concerning Summary Judgment.
(See Employee Defs. Opp'n, ECF No.
However, in Defendants' Joint Brief in Opposition to
Plaintiffs' Motion Concerning Apportionment, Defendants
indicate that they “will seek an instruction from the
court consistent with the prior ruling on the summary
judgment.” (Defs.' J. Br. Opp'n at 7, ECF No.
also seek an order precluding Defendants from raising an
apportionment of damages argument at trial. On August 29,
2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion to quash Defendants'
subpoena to take a trial deposition of Plaintiffs' police
practices expert, Howard Rahtz. (Pl's Mot. to Quash, ECF
No. 100.) The court granted Plaintiffs' motion to quash
on September 3, 2019. (Order, ECF No. 114.) Along with the
motion to quash, Plaintiffs also included their Motion
Concerning Apportionment (Pl's Mot. Concerning
Apportionment, ECF No. 100), which the court did not address
in its prior order. Defendants filed a Joint Brief in
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion Concerning Apportionment
on August 30, 2019. (Defs.' J. Br. Opp'n, ECF No.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Motion Concerning Summary Judgment
seek an order preventing evidence, argument, or testimony
that Plaintiffs named Avon Defendants in the Complaint and
that the court granted summary judgment in favor of Avon
Defendants based on qualified immunity. (Pl's Mot.
Concerning Summ. J. at 3-4, ECF No. 81.) In their Motion,
Plaintiffs argue that such evidence is
“irrelevant” and “would inject
unnecessarily confusing factual and legal issues to the jury
completely unrelated to any claim the jury will be tasked to
consider” at trial. (Id. at 4.) Accordingly,
Plaintiffs ask the court to exclude the evidence under
Fed.R.Evid. 401, 402, and 403 because its probative value is
substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to
court agrees with Plaintiffs that evidence of, or reference
to, the court's Order granting summary judgment for Avon
Defendants would risk jury confusion and unfair prejudice to
Plaintiffs. See Fed. R. Evid. 403. Moreover, the
court finds that evidence of, or reference to, summary
judgment in favor of Avon Defendants is not relevant to the
questions of damages and liability that are proceeding to
trial because the court's Order turned on the distinct
question of qualified immunity. (See Order, ECF No.
65.) To the extent it becomes relevant-that is, to explain to
the jury why Avon Defendants are not present-the parties may
reference the court's finding that Avon Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity. (See Order, ECF No.
65.) However, before making such reference, the parties must
obtain express approval from the court. Further, the parties
may not use the court's Order granting summary judgment
in favor of Avon Defendants as evidence of constitutional
violations caused by Avon Defendants or for any purpose
related to proving liability. (See id.) Accordingly,
the court denies in part and grants in part Plaintiffs'
Motion Concerning Summary Judgement.
Motion Concerning Apportionment
intend to assert the affirmative defense that liability for
damages, if any, must be apportioned to all parties who are
responsible for the harm, including Avon Defendants.
(See Defs.' Am. Notice of Intent to Seek
Apportionment of Damages, ECF No. 98; Defs.' J. Br.
Opp'n at 6-7, ECF No. 102.) Plaintiffs oppose this
apportionment defense and filed their Motion Concerning
Apportionment seeking to prevent Defendants from presenting
evidence to the jury regarding apportionment of liability.
Plaintiffs argue that “evidence or arguments concerning
the [Avon] Defendants' former role as defendant-parties
to this case and their dismissal via ...