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Mahone v. Eden

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

July 2, 2019

TONYA MICHELLE MAHONE, as Personal Representative of the Estate of GERARD WATSON, Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
GARY EDEN, JACQUELINE R. FLETCHER, and CRST EXPEDITED, INC., Defendants.

          Nathan S. Anderson and Paul D. Barber, Barber & Borg LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Mark J. Caruso, Caruso Law Offices P.C., Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Plaintiff.

          Harriett J. Hickman, Darci A Carroll, and Nathan H. Mann, Gallagher Casados & Mann, P.C., Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Defendant Jacqueline R. Fletcher.

          Mark J. Klecan, Attorney at Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Defendant Gary Eden.

          ORDER ON PRETRIAL CONFERENCE

          PAUL KELLY, JR., UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER came on for a Final Pretrial Conference on July 1, 2019. The court considered various pending motions and objections:

• Defendant Jacqueline R. Fletcher's Motion in Limine to Exclude Testimony of Whitney G. Morgan Regarding Ms. Fletcher filed June 24, 2019 (ECF No. 175).
• Plaintiff Tonya Michelle Mahone's Objections to Defendant Jacqueline R. Fletcher's Deposition Designations for Gary Eden filed June 27, 2019 (ECF No. 182).
• Plaintiff Tonya Michelle Mahone's Objections to Defendant Jacqueline R. Fletcher's Deposition Designations of Agent Rodger Brunson filed June 28, 2019 (ECF No. 183).
• Plaintiff Tonya Michelle Mahone's Objections to Defendant Jacqueline R. Fletcher's Exhibit 34 State of New Mexico Incident Report (ECF No. 185).
• Defendant Jacqueline R. Fletcher's Pretrial Conference Objection to Plaintiff's Contested Exhibit 6.
• Defendant Jacqueline R. Fletcher's Pretrial Conference Objection to Plaintiff's Contested Exhibits 1 and 2.

         Upon consideration thereof, the court rules as follows.

         (1) Testimony of Whitney G. Morgan.

         Defendant Jacqueline R. Fletcher's Motion in Limine to Exclude Testimony of Whitney G. Morgan Regarding Ms. Fletcher filed June 24, 2019 (ECF No. 175) should be granted in part to the extent that Mr. Morgan is precluded from testifying as to whether Ms. Fletcher gave Mr. Eden permission to drive at the time of the accident, and whether Ms. Fletcher's conduct demonstrated a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Certainly, a witness may opine on ultimate questions of fact, provided the testimony assists the jury in reaching a verdict. Fed.R.Evid. 704; Specht v. Jensen, 853 F.2d 805, 807-08 (10th Cir. 1988). However, from what has been presented, Mr. Morgan's truck safety expertise does not qualify him to express an opinion on whether Ms. Fletcher gave Mr. Eden permission (either express or implied) to drive at the time of the accident.[1] The jury must decide this critical issue based on its assessment of the facts. In addition, pursuant to the court's June 25, 2019 Order, the parties are precluded from premature mention of punitive damages. Mahone v. Eden, No. 1:15-cv-01009-PJK-KBM, 2019 WL ...


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