Motion 2- Exclude Reference to the Plaintiff's Unrelated Medical Conditions in Car Accident Case
Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #1 To Bar Reference to the Plaintiff's Unrelated Medical Conditions
NOW COMES the Plaintiff, PAMELA EHRENBERG, by and through her attorneys, KRALOVEC, JAMBOIS & SCHWARTZ, and moves this Court in limine, to bar the defendant from introducing any evidence, remark, statement, suggestion, inference, innuendo, testimony, or reference of any nature which might inform or suggest to the jury that the Plaintiff was involved in prior accidents and the Plaintiff suffers or has suffered from any medical conditions which are unrelated to the subject automobile accident. In support of this Motion, Plaintiff states as follows:
This case involves Plaintiff's claims of injury stemming from the defendant's negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle on August 26, 1998. It is the Plaintiff's belief that the defendant may attempt to introduce evidence regarding the Plaintiff's non-related medical conditions, including, but perhaps not limited to, previous injuries suffered in prior automobile accidents. During her deposition, the Plaintiff testified that she sustained an injury in a 1979 automobile accident. (Please see deposition of Pamela Ehrenberg, at pp. 66-68, attached hereto as Exhibit “A”). This injury required medical treatment and was resolved in 1985 by surgery to treat TMJ. (Exhibit “A”). The Plaintiff also testified that she sustained a back injury in a 1990 automobile accident. (Please see deposition of Pamela Ehrenberg at pp. 63-66, attached hereto as Exhibit “B”). The Plaintiff also testified that she suffered from colitis secondary to an automobile accident in 1996. (Please see deposition of Pamela Ehrenberg at pp. 68-72, attached hereto as Exhibit “C”).
There has been no testimony, medical or otherwise, that any of the Plaintiff's prior accidents and resulting unrelated medical conditions bear any relationship whatsoever to the resulting injuries or the ultimate healing result obtained by the Plaintiff. In addition, there has been no disclosure by the defendant regarding what role, if any, these conditions may have played in the Plaintiff's course of medical treatment following and as a result of the injuries sustained in this occurrence. The defendant has not disclosed any witness or opinion that the Plaintiff's previous injuries are in any way related to the injuries sustained in the subject occurrence. Accordingly, none of these unrelated medical conditions has any tendency to make any fact of consequence to this action more or less probable than it would be in the absence of such evidence. Accordingly, the Plaintiff's unrelated physical disorders are entirely irrelevant to this cause.
Relevant evidence is evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence. In re Elias, 114 lll.2d 321, 102 III.Dec. 314, 499 N.E.2d 1327 (1986). The fact that PAMELA EHRENBERG may have been involved in prior accidents and treated for unrelated medical conditions or unrelated physical symptoms has absolutely no tendency to make any fact of consequence to the determination of this automobile negligence action more or less probable than it would be in the absence of such evidence. Accordingly, this evidence is properly excluded.
Moreover, even assuming that the Plaintiff's prior automobile accidents and unrelated physical disorders and treatment were somehow related, which the Plaintiff expressly disputes, this testimony should nonetheless be excluded since it lacks sufficient probative value when considered in light of the danger of unfair prejudice, the likelihood of confusion of the issues and of misleading the jury. Under such circumstances, even relevant evidence may properly be excluded in the sound discretion of the trial court. Gill v. Foster, 157 lll.2d 304, 626 N.E.2d 190 (1993). Such is the case here. The probative value of this testimony is minimal while the likelihood of substantial prejudice and confusion of the issues is great. Accordingly, this testimony and evidence should be excluded.
Finally, the defendant has not disclosed a single witness, medical or otherwise, who wiil offer any testimony that the Plaintiff's prior automobile accidents and unrelated medical conditions bears any relationship to issues of either liability or damages in this case. In the absence of such testimony, these conditions are entirely irrelevant and inadmissible. Recent cases to address this issue have unequivocally held that unless there is a showing by the defendant that there is a causal connection established by competent medical testimony between said collateral illnesses and the Plaintiff's claimed injuries in this case, such evidence is inadmissible. Voykin v. Estate of DeBoer, 733 N.E.2d 1275 (III. 2000); Cancio v. White, 697 N.E.2d 749 (1st Dist. 1998); Brown v. Baker, 284 III.App.3d 401, 672 N.E.2d 69, 71, 219 III.Dec. 754 (5th Dist. 1996). Here, there has been no disclosure that such a showing can be or will be made. Accordingly, this evidence is properly excluded.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff, PAMELA EHRENBERG, moves this Court for entry of an Order barring the defendant, defense attorneys, and all witnesses at trial from offering any remark, statement, suggestion, inference, innuendo, testimony or other reference to the Plaintiff's prior accidents and unrelated medical conditions.