United States District Court, D. Arizona
October 10, 2014
Gary S. Duarte, Plaintiff,
Catalina Foothills School District, Defendant.
JAMES A. SOTO, District Judge.
The Court has reviewed the parties' 10/9/14 Joint Report (Doc. 74). As the parties do not stipulate to an advisory verdict and the Court has to decide the front pay issue in any event, the Court will not seek an advisory verdict from the jury. As such, the final jury instruction pertaining to front pay (Doc. 59-1 at p. 6) will not be given at trial. The Court will use the stipulated verdict form (Doc. 58) originally submitted by the parties. In addition, as the parties believe that the Court can receive any necessary evidence during a bench trial on front pay while the jury deliberates, the Court will proceed in this manner as indicated by the parties. As such, the parties shall submit briefs addressing the factual and legal issues pertaining to front pay by no later than 10/28/14.
In response to the reckless disregard and liquidated damages issue, the parties responded as follows: "The parties believe that if the jurors answer "yes" to question number 3 (the "reckless disregard" question), the Court should simply have the Clerk of the Court enter judgment in an amount equal to whatever damages amount the jurors enter in response to question number 2 (the back pay amount, if any)." The Court will proceed in the manner requested by the parties.
The Court notes that previous Orders have indicated that we will select an 8 person jury in this case; as such, at least 14 prospective jurors must be seated because each party is entitled to 3 peremptory challenges for a total of 6 strikes (i.e, plaintiff (3); defendant (3)). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 47(b); 28 U.S.C. §1870; Fed. R.Civ. P. 48. The civil rules do not provide for alternate jurors in civil trials. Prior to the parties exercising their peremptory strikes, some jurors will likely be struck for cause. As to peremptory strikes, LRCiv 47.1 states: "Each side shall exercise its peremptory challenges simultaneously and in secret. The Court shall then designate as the jury the persons whose names appear first on the list."
The Court notes that it just filed an Order ruling on the motions in limine. In addition, to streamline the trial process and provide the parties as much information as possible prior to trial, the Court has attached the following finalized documents that will be used at trial: the Court's voir dire script, the preliminary and final instructions, and the verdict form. The Court notes that there is only one preliminary instruction that is not finalized as the Court is awaiting a response from the parties that is due on 10/28/14. See 10/2/14 Order at Doc. 71 at p. 2 ("As to preliminary jury instruction number 16 (Doc. 57-1 at p. 16), the instruction states: "The parties have agreed to certain facts [to be placed in evidence as Exhibit __] [that will be read to you]. You should therefore treat these facts as having been proved." At least 7 days before trial (i.e., 10/28/14), the parties shall indicate what Exhibit number they agree to, and shall also indicate at what point in the trial they would like the Court to read these stipulated facts to the jury.").
As the parties have received the Order on the motions in limine, and the Court has attached the finalized versions of the other trial documents as indicated above, it does not appear that a pretrial conference is necessary.
However, if the parties believe that a pretrial conference is necessary, they shall file a joint report by no later than 10/17/14 discussing what issues remain that must be addressed at a pretrial conference. If the Court does not receive a joint report by 10/17/14, the Court will presume that a pretrial conference is unnecessary and will not set a pretrial conference.