Subsequent Remedial Measures Motion in Limine
CASE NO. 24-C-02-12345Plaintiffs’ Response to Defendant’s Motion in Limine Regarding Subsequent Remedial Measures
- Legal Argument
Plaintiffs contend that a mechanical system Defendant built at Pushkin Manufacturing was defective because it did not have a valve upstream of the strainer that released a hot chemical slurry that killed Sandy Jones. Defendant’s motion in limine seeks to exclude evidence that Pushkin Manufacturing installed an upstream valve after the decedent’s death that Plaintiff contends would have saved Sandy Jones’ life.1
A. Subsequent Repairs May Be Admitted When Those Repairs Have Been Performed by Someone Other Than the Defendant.
Defendant’s motion willfully ignores Maryland case law that is directly on point. In Blaw-Know Construction Equipment Co. v. Morris, 88 Md. App. 655 (1991), the court addressed the very question of whether a subsequent remedial measure on the part of someone other than the defendant was admissible. The court stated that the rule on subsequent remedial measures requires “exclusion of evidence of remedial measures taken by the defendant.” Id. at 681. (citations omitted). The court concluded that this “is so because when ‘a person other than the defendant has taken remedial measures, and the evidence is not offered as an admission of the actor’s culpability [here Genstar], the policy reason for exclusion [encouraging the defendant to do repairs] is inapplicable.’” Id. (bracketed language in the original, citing L.McLain, Maryland Evidence (1987) Section 407.1.) Fourth circuit law is also in accord. See TLT-Babcock, Inc. v. Emerson Electric Co, 33 F.3d 397 (1994) (“Rule 407 is based on the policy of encouraging potential defendants to remedy hazardous conditions without fear that their actions will be used against them.") A nondefendant, however, will not be inhibited from taking remedial measures if such actions are allowed into evidence against a defendant. The courts of appeals, therefore, have held that evidence of subsequent repairs may be admitted when those repairs have been performed by someone other than the defendant. [Citations to Moore’s Federal Practice four federal circuits omitted.] We agree with the logic and conclusion of our sister circuits.”)
Maryland law is clear that subsequent remedial measures may be admitted against post accident safety precautions taken by someone other than the defendant and to demonstrate the appropriate standard of care. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion in limine should be denied.
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