United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
C. Cacheris, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Computer Sciences
Corporation's (“Plaintiff” or
“CSC”) Omnibus Motion in Limine [Dkt.
113] and Defendant John Paul Maguire's
(“Defendant” or “Maguire”) Motions
in Limine [Dkt. 116]. Both motions ask this Court to
exclude a variety of testimony and evidence. For the
following reasons, the Court will rule on the various motions
factual background of this case is recited in detail in the
Court's November 22, 2016, Memorandum Opinion and Order
denying Defendant's motion for summary judgment. [Dkt.
110.] Familiarity with that Memorandum Opinion and Order are
summarize, this case concerns CSC's claims for breach of
contract and fraud against its former executive, John Paul
Maguire, regarding events surrounding his resignation from
CSC in October 2014. CSC asserts that Maguire defrauded CSC
when he negotiated a severance package with CSC that
prohibited him from associating with a competitor, Cognizant
Technology Solutions (U.S.) (“Cognizant”), even
though he was already engaging in detailed discussions with
Cognizant to accept a new position there. CSC also asserts
that Maguire breached his non-solicitation and Stock Option
Award Agreements (hereinafter, the “Employment
Agreements”) with CSC by attempting to recruit former
CSC employees to work at Cognizant.
filed the instant lawsuit on March 9, 2016. [Dkt. 1.] On
October 19, 2016, Defendant filed a notice of removal to
federal court. [Dkt. 1.] On November 23, 2016, Plaintiff
filed its omnibus motion in limine. [Dkt. 113.] On
November 25, 2016, Defendant filed his motions in
limine. [Dkt. 116.] Oral argument was held on December
6, 2016. These motions are now ripe for disposition.
Standard of Review
purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the trial
court to rule in advance of trial on the admissibility and
relevance of certain forecasted evidence. Luce v.
United States, 469 U.S. 38, 40 n.2 (1984). A
court's ruling regarding a motion in limine is
"subject to change when the case unfolds, particularly
if the actual testimony differs from what was
[expected]." Luce, 469 U.S. at 41. Such
evidentiary rulings “are entitled to substantial
deference and will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of
discretion." United States v. Moore, 27 F.3d
969, 974 (4th Cir. 1994); see also United States v.
Perkins, 470 F.3d 150, 155 (4th Cir. 2006). "[The
Court of Appeals] will find that discretion to have been
abused only when the district court acted 'arbitrarily or
irrationally.'" Id. (quoting United
States v. Ham, 998 F.2d 1247, 1252 (4th Cir. 1993)).
general matter, all relevant evidence is admissible unless
there are constitutional, statutory, or rule-based exceptions
preventing its admission. See Fed. R. Evid. 402.
Rule 401 of the Federal Rules of Evidence defines
“relevant” evidence as “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.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. Consequently, what
constitutes “relevant evidence” depends on the
facts of the case, the nature of the claims, and the
associated defenses to the claims.
reason that relevant evidence may be excluded at trial is
because of its prejudicial effect. See Fed. R. Evid.
403. Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence states that
“[t]he court may exclude relevant evidence if its
probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of
one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the
issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or
needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.”
Plaintiff's Omnibus Motion in Limine
has made a series of motions in limine to exclude a
wide range of evidence and testimony. The Court addresses
each of these motions in turn. As a threshold matter, as a
result of this Court's summary judgment rulings, only
Claim I of breach of contract and Claim III of fraud remain
against Defendant Maguire.
Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence Involving
Oral Conversations between Maguire and Two CSC Employees
asserts that Defendant should be precluded from testifying
regarding alleged oral modifications of his Employment
Agreements. (Pl. Mem. in Supp. at 3.) Plaintiff argues that
the Non-Competition/Non-Solicitation Agreement signed by
Defendant on April 19, 2013 specifically provides that
modifications or amendments must be made in writing.
Agreement states: “¶ 9. Amendment. This Agreement
may not be modified or amended except by a written instrument
executed by Employee and CSCs General Counsel.” (CSC
Trial Ex. 4, ¶ 9.) Similarly, each of the five stock
option agreements contain the following provision:
Entire Agreement; Amendment and Waivers.
This Agreement embodies the entire understanding and
agreement of the parties with respect to the subject matter
hereof, and no promise, condition, representation or
warranty, express or implied, not stated or incorporated by
reference herein, shall bind either party hereto. None of the
terms and conditions of this Agreement may be amended,
modified, waived or canceled except by a writing signed by
the parties hereto specifying such amendment, modification,
waiver, or cancellation. A waiver by either party at any time
of compliance with any of the terms and conditions of the
Agreement shall not be considered a modification,
cancellation or consent to a future waiver of such terms and
conditions or of any preceding or succeeding breach thereof,
unless expressly stated so.
(CSC Trial Ex. 6, ¶ 14); (CSC Trial Ex. 7, ¶ 18);
(CSC Trial Ex. 8, ¶ 14); (CSC Trial Ex. 9, ¶ 16);
(CSC Trial Ex. 10, ¶ 18). Because any modifications must
be made in writing, Plaintiff argues that any alleged
conversations between Defendant and CSC employees that relate
to his contractual obligations would only serve to confuse
the jury and would be unfairly prejudicial to CSC. (Pl. Mem.
in Supp. at 4.)
responds to Plaintiff's arguments by clarifying that the
conversations he had with Mike Lawrie, CSC's chief
executive officer, and Paul Saleh, CSC's chief financial
officer, should be permitted at trial because they “go
to the heart of [Plaintiff's] fraud claim.” (Def.
Mem. in Opp. at 4.) Such conversations are not meant to show
a modification of any contractual terms, but rather are meant
to show Lawrie's, and therefore the Plaintiff's,
state of mind. (Id.) Moreover, Maguire plans to
offer evidence of his conversation with Mr. Saleh as evidence
of his affirmative defense of waiver, as he alleges that Mr.
Saleh explicitly asked him to violate the terms of his
non-solicitation agreement. (Id.)
the purposes for which these oral conversations will be
offered, the Court finds them relevant to the proceedings and
denies Plaintiff's motion to exclude them.
Motion in Limine to Preclude Defendant From
Asserting the Unenforceability of the Non-Solicitation
Provisions as an Affirmative Defense Plaintiff has also
moved to preclude Defendant from asserting the affirmative
defense that the ...