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Kurt Lepping v. David L. Greeno and Wendy C. Greeno

October 14, 2011

KURT LEPPING, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAVID L. GREENO AND WENDY C. GREENO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John W. Sedwick United States District Judge

ORDER AND OPINION

[Re: Motion at Docket 43]

I. MOTION PRESENTED

At docket 43, defendants David and Wendy Greeno ("defendants" or "the Greenos") move in limine to exclude various evidence. Plaintiff Kurt Lepping ("plaintiff" or "Lepping") opposes the motion at docket 52. Defendants' reply is at docket 56. Oral argument was not requested and would not assist the court.

II. BACKGROUND*fn1

In 2005, Lepping and the Greenos jointly purchased a tract of land in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, intending to develop and subdivide it. In 2006, the parties formed Paradise Properties, LLC, with the assistance of a lawyer, John Davies ("Davies"), and transferred the property to the company. Davies forwarded the deed that transferred the tract to the company to the Greenos along with a draft operating agreement that the parties had discussed. The Greenos were advised to seek independent legal advice to assist with review of the operating agreement. The operating agreement provided that Lepping would have sole managerial authority even though Lepping and the Greenos each had a fifty-percent interest in the LLC. The Greenos maintain that they were sidetracked and never agreed to or signed the operating agreement. Lepping maintains that the operating agreement is indicative of the parties' agreement and that the Greenos assented to its terms.

Complaints from neighbors delayed approval of the subdivision by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Those issues were resolved in 2008. Lepping maintains that, at that time, the Greenos informed him they would no longer contribute to the project. The Greenos maintain that Lepping commingled personal and company funds and could not properly account for expenditures. Lepping sent the Greenos letters stating that they were in breach of the operating agreement and attempted to complete the project on his own. The Greenos informed the Borough that they disputed Lepping's managerial authority and requested that approval of the subdivision be postponed until the parties' dispute was resolved.

Lepping filed suit in the Superior Court for the State of Alaska at Palmer asserting claims for breach of contract and promissory estoppel, seeking damages and injunctive relief.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Evidence of David Greeno's Bipolar Disorder, Negligent Driving Conviction, Assault Conviction, and Restraining Order

The Greenos argue that evidence of David Greeno's bipolar disorder, his negligent driving conviction, assault conviction, and a restraining order issued against him in favor of his wife is irrelevant and should be excluded. The Greenos also state that the evidence is unfairly prejudicial, but do not elaborate.

1. Evidence of David Greeno's Mental Condition

Lepping argues that evidence of David Greeno's bipolar disorder is admissible to impeach his credibility, particularly with respect to his recollection of events in 2006. Lepping maintains that David Greeno's "mental breakdown" and subsequent hospitalization somehow explain why David Greeno's recollection of the 2006 meeting--at which the parties discussed the operating agreement--differs from other parties' recollections. That evidence is only probative of David Greeno's credibility if his mental condition actually affected his perception of the meeting or currently affects his recollection of the meeting. That showing has not been made. More importantly, evidence of David Greeno's bipolar disorder could confuse the issues, mislead the jury, and waste time.*fn2 The jury could potentially attach more significance to David Greeno's disorder than it is worth, and the showing that would be required to establish its relevance would require ...


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