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Corcoran v. Chg-Meridian Us Finance, Ltd.

United States District Court, N.D. New York

May 15, 2014

THOMAS P. CORCORAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CHG-MERIDIAN U.S. FINANCE, LTD., Defendant.

MARTHA L. BERRY, ESQ., LONGSTREET & BERRY, LLP, Syracuse, New York, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

SCOTT T. BAKEN, ESQ., JACKSON LEWIS P.C., One North Broadway White Plains, New York, Attorneys for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion in limine, see Dkt. No. 63, and Defendant's motions in limine, see Dkt. Nos. 69-82.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Thomas P. Corcoran brings this against his former employer, Defendant CHG-Meridian U.S. Finance, Ltd. ("CHG")[1], alleging causes of action for age discrimination and retaliation under New York Executive Law, and failure to pay commissions and liquidated damages under New York Labor Law. Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to a series of adverse employment actions as a result of his age, including the involuntary transfer of accounts, revocation of monthly draw, interference with and failure to support prospective sales, and termination. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant retaliated against him for engaging in protected conduct when he was terminated following the filing of administrative complaints with the New York Division of Human Rights. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that he earned commissions that Defendant has not paid, and that such failure to pay was willful, thus entitling him to liquidated damages and attorneys' fees.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's Motion in Limine [2]

Plaintiff seeks to preclude Defendant from admitting evidence of his felony conviction for making a false statement to a federal officer under 18 U.S.C. ยง 1001. See Dkt. No. 62 at 12-14 (arguing that such evidence is inadmissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 609(b)); Dkt. No. 63 (arguing that such evidence is inadmissible under the after-acquired evidence rule). Defendant asserts that evidence of Plaintiff's felony conviction is admissible both to impeach Plaintiff's credibility pursuant to Rule 609(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, and for the purposes of mitigating its damages pursuant to the after-acquired evidence rule set forth in McKennon v. Nashville Banner Pub. Co., 513 U.S. 352 (1995). See Dkt. No. 97.

1. FRE 609

The parties agree that Federal Rule of Evidence 609 governs the admissibility of criminal convictions for impeachment purposes in civil actions. Pursuant to this Rule, there are two ways in which such evidence may be admitted. First, Rule 609(a)(1) provides that, for the purpose of attacking the credibility of a witness:

[E]vidence that a witness other than an accused has been convicted of a crime shall be admitted, subject to Rule 403, [3] if the crime was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year under the law under which the witness was convicted[.]

In other words:

The Rule requires district courts to admit the name of a conviction, its date, and the sentence imposed unless the district court determines that the probative value of that evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.' Fed.R.Evid. 403. This determination is left to the sound discretion of the district court.

United States v. Estrada, 430 F.3d 606, 621 (2d Cir. 2005).

"In balancing probative value against prejudicial effect under this rule, courts examine the following factors: (1) the impeachment value of the prior crime, (2) the remoteness of the prior conviction, (3) the similarity between the past crime and the conduct at issue, and (4) the importance of the credibility of the witness." Daniels v. Loizzo, 986 F.Supp. 245, 250 (S.D.N.Y. 1997) (citations omitted). "Although all of these factors are relevant, prime among them is the first factor, i.e., whether the crime, by its nature, is probative of a lack of ...


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