United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTIONS IN LIMINE AND
DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
case involves claims for breach of fiduciary duty and
prohibited transactions pursuant to the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C.
§ 1001 et seq. Plaintiffs Steve Wildman
(“Wildman”) and Jon Borcherding
(“Borcherding”), participants in the American
Century Retirement Plan (the “Plan”) established
by Defendant American Century Investment Management, Inc.
(“ACIM”), bring this suit on their own behalf,
and on behalf of a class of participants in the Plan, against
Defendants American Century Services, LLC
(“ACS”), ACIM, American Century Companies, Inc.
(“ACC”) (ACIM, ACS, and ACC collectively
“American Century”), the American Century
Retirement Plan Retirement Committee (the
“Committee”), and past and present members of the
Committee,  seeking damages and declaratory and
before the Court is Plaintiffs' motions in limine (Docs.
201 & 204) and Defendants' motion in limine (Doc.
206). For the following reasons, the motions are DENIED.
relevant evidence is admissible. Fed.R.Evid. 402. Evidence is
relevant if it has “any tendency to make a fact more or
less probable than it would be without the evidence”
and “the fact is of consequence in determining the
action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. Trial courts have
“broad discretion in determining the relevance of
proposed evidence.” United States v. Williams,
545 F.2d 47, 49 (8th Cir. 1976). “The threshold for
relevance is quite minimal.” United States v.
Nadeau, 598 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 2010).
Plaintiffs' motions in limine are DENIED.
seek to preclude American Century from introducing any
evidence or argument related to: (1) releases signed by
absent class members; and (2) American Century's
contributions to its employees' retirement plan accounts,
because they argue these categories of evidence are
irrelevant or otherwise inadmissible.
Evidence regarding six representative releases relating to
releases of liability for absent class
members is relevant.
Plaintiffs seek to exclude evidence, testimony, and argument
related to six representative releases of liability on the
basis that these documents are irrelevant.
response to Plaintiffs' discovery requests seeking
documents concerning absent class member releases, Defendants
produced six representative releases. These documents
represent releases of liability that some class members
executed when they terminated their employment with American
Century. At summary judgment, the Court considered the
releases of liability executed by Plaintiffs Wildman and
Borcherding. See (Doc. 54 at 6-8). Defendants claim
that the language used in the representative releases contain
nearly identical language the Court considered at summary
judgment and are relevant to their defense that
Plaintiffs' claims are barred.
complain that these representative agreements are not
relevant because they are unsigned and not a substitute for
the actual, signed agreements, they represent. Defendants
complain that Plaintiffs did not raise an issue with these
representative releases, never filed a motion to compel
production of the actual releases, and never sought to depose
a corporate representative who could testify as to the
releases for the absent class members, and are only now
complaining about the releases on the eve of trial.
Court finds evidence of releases of liability are relevant to
Defendants' defense that Plaintiffs' claims are
barred by a release. See (Doc. 54 at 6-8)
(considering the validity of releases of liability for the
named plaintiffs including the analysis the Court must
undertake to determine whether a release is valid and
enforceable). Accordingly, Plaintiffs' motion is denied.
Evidence regarding contributions to employees' ...