Consideration of Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff 's
Motions in Limine GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART
Stephen A. Hampton, Esquire, Grady & Hampton, LLC, Dover,
Delaware for Plaintiff.
L. McKenty, Esquire, Heckler & Frabizzio, Wilmington,
Delaware for Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff.
B. Young, J.
Vincent ("Plaintiff") filed a premises liability
claim against Harrington Raceway, Inc.
("Defendant"). Defendant then filed a Third-Party
Complaint against Melissa Olsen ("Third-Party
Defendant") asserting that she was responsible for
Plaintiff's alleged injuries. The Third-Party Defendant
has since been dismissed by the stipulation. Defendant has
filed four motions in limine. Defendant's first
motion in limine moves this Court for an Order
precluding all non-expert evidence, testimony, and argument
concerning Plaintiff's allegations of defect.
Defendant's second and third motions in limine
move to exclude the proposed expert testimony of Joseph C.
Vincent, D.C. and Michele Y. Holding, M.D. Defendant's
fourth motion in limine moves to exclude all
evidence, testimony, and argument concerning its policy
limits, duration of coverage, insurance premiums, and the
amount of insurance coverage available.
Motion in Limine to Exclude All Evidence of Defect
to the Jury is GRANTED because lay testimony regarding
whether the barstool was a dangerous condition is improper
opinion. Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude
Plaintiff's Proposed Expert Testimony of Joseph C.
Vincent, D.C. is GRANTED because Dr. Vincent's testimony
is not based on sufficient facts or data. Defendant's
Motion in Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's Proposed
Expert Testimony of Michele Y. Holding, M.D. is DENIED
because the expert report is based on sufficient facts,
adequately considers alternate causes of Plaintiff's
alleged injuries, and contains enough information to place
Defendant on notice as to the basis for the expert opinion.
Defendant's Motion in Li mine to Preclude
Evidence of Insurance Details to the Jury is GRANTED because
Delaware Rule of Evidence 411 does not permit evidence
regarding insurance coverage.
25, 2012,  Plaintiff alleges that he sustained
injuries in a fall at Defendant's first floor patio bar.
This establishment, Plaintiff maintains, provides music,
sells drinks, and allows dancing. Plaintiff asserts that the
previous Third-Party Defendant leaned against his barstool
while she allegedly was standing between his legs. He further
attests that the chair portion of his barstool fell off of
the seat portion of his barstool. After the chair portion
allegedly failed, Plaintiff claims that he fell to the
ground, and that the previous Third-Party Defendant landed on
top of him. Plaintiff asserts that he had no reason to know
of, and was unaware of, any defect in the barstool.
is prepared to offer at least two purported experts in
support of his claim. First is Joseph C. Vincent, D.C. He
wrote his report on July 23, 2014. In his expert report, Dr.
Vincent states "today . . . [Plaintiff] denies any
recent accidents or injuries and at this time offers nothing
further." Dr. Vincent's report also says
"[Plaintiff] denies any previous accidents, illnesses or
injuries involving his left arm, cervical and thoracic
spine." Dr. Vincent asserts, in his report, that
he did not maintain formal records for Plaintiff outside of
Plaintiff's initial examination. The remainder of the
report discusses Plaintiff's alleged injuries and
provides an opinion with respect to causation of those
second expert is Michele Y. Holding, M.D. Plaintiff asserts
that Michele Y. Holding, M.D. will testify "specifically
that there was injury to [Plaintiff's] wrist and hand and
that the charge for the test is a reasonable and customary
charge." Dr. Holding's report states that
Plaintiff "is a 52-year-old right-handed man without
previous medical history status post slip and fall
05/20/12."Furthermore, Dr. Holding's report
indicates that Plaintiff "is status post fracture of the
left dorsal hand at 51 years old which was treated with a
cast. . . ." Additionally, this report makes
recommendations for future care,  and reaches conclusions
regarding Plaintiff's alleged injuries.
contends that these reports contain false information.
Defendant claims that Plaintiff was treated for a broken hand
on August 19, 2012, when he was 52 years old. Defendant
provides medical records supporting this proposition.
Moreover, Defendant asserts that Dr. Vincent testified, in
his deposition, that his expert report was based on
Plaintiff's first visit to his office on May 28, 2012.
filed the Complaint for this case on May 12, 2014. On June
10, 2014, Defendant filed a third-party Complaint against
Third-Party Defendant. The parties stipulated as to the
dismissal of Third-Party Defendant on October 17, 2016.
Defendant filed the four instant motions in limine
on October 20, 2016.
Lay Testimony Regarding Whether the Stool Was a Dangerous
Condition is Not Admissible
whether a barstool constitutes a dangerous condition is a
matter that is outside the understanding of a layperson, a
layperson may not provide testimony relative to whether or
not a given barstool constitutes a dangerous condition. Any
evidence a layperson could offer regarding the level of
danger with respect to the barstool would be irrelevant.
regarding the dangerous nature of it requires expert
testimony, since such proof is outside the ordinary knowledge
of a layperson, even though laypeople are familiar with the
item itself. In Cruz v. G-Town Partners, L.P., a
plaintiff was injured when a sink fell from the bathroom wall
in her apartment. The Delaware Superior Court held that an
expert had to testify as to the extent of the defendant's
duty to inspect, repair, or replace the bathroom sink
mountings. As stated, though laypeople are familiar
with sinks, testimony regarding the duty to inspect, repair,
or replace a sink is beyond their knowledge
makes two arguments counter to the above conclusion. The
first is that the instant motion is a dispositive motion
disguised as a motion in limine. Since the
dispositive motion deadline in this case has passed,
Plaintiff argues that this Court should not entertain
Defendant's motion. The second is that there is a
distinction between evidence of defect, needed in products
liability cases, and evidence of whether a chair is unfit for
a patron to sit on in a bar area does not require expert
respect to the first argument, Delaware courts have decided
motions in limine that were disguised dispositive
motions and filed after the dispositive motion
deadline. As to Plaintiff's second argument,
expert testimony is necessary to prove the defects alleged.
Thus, Defendant's motion with respect to testimony
regarding defect is GRANTED.
Joseph C. Vincent, D.C.'s Expert Testimony Is
Inadmissible Since it Is Not Based on Sufficient Facts or
testimony must be based upon sufficient facts or data in
order for it to be admissible. Joseph C. Vincent, D.C.'s
expert report does not consider Plaintiff's broken hand,
from August of 2012, in reaching its ...