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R. M. R. v. Muscogee County School District

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
165 F.3d 812 (11th Cir. 1999)


In 1993, R. M. R. (plaintiff) was molested by a music teacher, Herman Larry Carr, at Richards Middle School. R. M. R. sued Muscogee County School District (Muscogee) (defendant), claiming that Muscogee was vicariously liable, because it knew or should have known that Carr posed a danger to children. A jury trial commenced. On the third day of trial, a witness identified as D. L. J. appeared at the courthouse. D. L. J. claimed he had been a student of Carr’s in 1984, that Carr had molested him 50 times, and that D. L. J. had reported the abuse to the principal at Richards Middle School. R. M. R. was previously unaware of this information, because D. L. J. had attended Richards Middle School under a different name. R. M. R. moved to call D. L. J. as a witness, notwithstanding the fact that D. L. J. did not appear on the pretrial order. At this point in the trial, R. M. R had rested his case, and Muscogee’s defense was almost complete. Muscogee opposed the motion, arguing that it would be highly prejudicial to allow D. L. J. to testify without first allowing Muscogee the opportunity to depose him and conduct an investigation to rebut his testimony. The district court denied R. M. R.’s motion. The jury found in favor of Muscogee. R. M. R appealed the verdict, arguing the district court improperly excluded D. L. J. as a witness.

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