United States District Court, D. New Mexico
OVERRULING IN PART DEFENDANTS' OBJECTION TO
PLAINTIFF'S CONTESTED EXHIBIT LIST; GRANTING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. IV; SUSTAINING IN PART
AND OVERRULING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS TO
DEFENDANTS' FINAL TRIAL EXHIBIT LIST; GRANTING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. III; SUSTAINING
PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS TO DEFENDANTS' DEPOSITION
DESIGNATIONS; AND OVERRULING DEFENDANTS' OBJECTION TO
PLAINTIFF'S USE OF DEPOSITIONS AT TRIAL
M. CARSON III UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE.
March 5, 2019, the parties appeared before the Court for a
pretrial conference. At the pretrial conference, the parties
orally argued the remaining pending motions and objections.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court OVERRULES IN PART
Defendants' Objection to Plaintiff's Exhibit List
[Doc. No. 186]; GRANTS IN PART Plaintiff's Motion in
Limine No. IV [Doc. No. 134]; SUSTAINS IN PART and OVERRULES
IN PART Plaintiff's Objections to Defendants' Final
Trial Exhibit List [Doc. No. 182]; GRANTS IN PART
Plaintiff's Motion in Limine No. III [Doc. No. 133];
SUSTAINS Plaintiff's Objections to Defendants'
Deposition Designations [Doc. No. 183]; and OVERRULES
Defendants' Objection to Plaintiff's use of
Depositions at Trial [Doc. No. 185].
11, 2013, Defendants Taracina Morgan and Herman Gonzales
transported Plaintiff Isaha Casias, along with other inmates,
from one prison to another. During the transfer, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants left the van unattended with the
van's engine turned off, and the windows and doors
closed. As a result of these conditions, Plaintiff alleges he
lost consciousness and convulsed with uncontrollable muscle
spasms. Plaintiff claims that during that transfer,
Defendants acted negligently and violated his constitutional
rights. As a result of this event, Plaintiff alleges he
suffered medical and psychological damages.
and Defendants have filed various pretrial motions and have
lodged objections to evidentiary issues. The Court now
addresses each of these pending motions and objections in
OPS Report of Investigation
seeks to admit at trial the Office of Professional Standards
(“OPS”) report that Derek Williams, Deputy Warden
of the Penitentiary of New Mexico (“PNM”),
prepared. Doc. No. 193. The Court previously addressed this
issue in its September 10, 2018, Memorandum Opinion and Order
[Doc. No. 174], but reserved ruling on the admission of the
OPS report itself until trial in order to determine if
Plaintiff can lay the proper evidentiary foundation for
admission under a hearsay exception. Plaintiff contends that
the issue is ripe for resolution. Plaintiff argues the report
is admissible under Feder Rule of Evidence
(“Rule”) 801(d)(2) or Rule 803(6). Defendants
object to the OPS report in their Objection to
Plaintiff's Exhibit List [Doc. No. 186] by incorporating
the objections made in their Response to Plaintiff's
Motion in Limine No. II [Doc. No. 155]. Defendants'
Response to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine No. II, however,
does not contain specific objections regarding the
admissibility of the OPS report.
801(d)(2) provides an exclusion to the rule against hearsay
for opposing party statements. Fed.R.Evid. 801(d)(2). An
opposing party's statement is a “statement . . .
offered against an opposing party, ” and among other
things, “was made by a person whom the party authorized
to make a statement on the subject.” Id.
Plaintiff offers the OPS report as evidence against
Defendants. Williams created the report after OPS requested
Williams investigate the incident. OPS is part of Defendant
New Mexico Department of Corrections (“DOC”). A
party to this case thus authorized Williams to make a
statement on the subject. The OPS Report satisfies the
requirements of Rule 801(d)(2). See Reid Brothers Logging
Co. v. Ketchikan Pulp Co., 699 F.2d 1292, 1306 (9th
Cir.1983) (explaining that a report prepared by third party
at request of defendant company was admissible under Rule
801(d)(2)(C)). The Court overrules Defendants' objection
to the OPS report.
Defendants' interviews with Derek Williams
seeks to admit transcripts or audio recordings of
Williams' interviews of Herman Gonzales and Taracina
Morgan. Doc. No. 193. At the pretrial conference, Defendants
objected to the admission of this evidence because the
contents of the interviews are not sworn statements. A
statement by a party opponent, however, is not required to be
sworn to be admissible. See SE Techs., Inc. v. Summit
Elec. Supply Co., 2002 WL 34705613, at *3 (D.N.M. Feb.
7, 2002) (describing that unsworn statements are admissible
under Fed.R.Evid. 801(d)(2)); Fed.R.Evid. 801(d)(2). Like the
evidence discussed above, the statements in both interviews
are admissible under Rule 801(d)(2). The statements are
statements by a party to the case in his or her individual
capacity offered by Plaintiff against the party-declarant.
See Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(A). Accordingly, the
statements are an exclusion from hearsay and may be offered
as substantive evidence. See United States v.
Williamson, 53 F.3d 1500, 1517 (10th Cir. 1995)
(explaining that because 801(d)(2) is an exclusion from
hearsay, evidence admissible under that rule is admissible as
substantive evidence). The Court overrules Defendants'
objection to this evidence.
Court, however, believes the introduction of both the
transcript and audio recording from each interview is
unnecessarily cumulative. Fed.R.Evid. 403. Therefore,
Plaintiff shall only be allowed to admit the transcript from
each interview for use at trial.
Hand-drawn diagram of sallyport area
seeks to admit a hand-drawn diagram created by Edward Urtiaga
of the sallyport area at PNM. Doc. No. 193. Subject to a
minimal foundation being laid at trial (i.e., a witness who
can identify the diagram), Defendants indicate they will not
object to this evidence. Therefore, the Court does not
exclude the hand-drawn diagram from evidence at this time. In
the event ...