United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
LOVELACE BLACKBURN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
court orally ruled on the record with regard this evidentiary
issue, but is issuing this opinion to give further rartionale
for the court's ruling during trial. The Government filed
a Motion in Limine to Exclude Legal Opinion Testimony, (doc.
65), and defendant Frederick Lamar Burnett filed a Motion in
Limine to Admit Testimony of Kimberly Ford, (doc. 70). The
Government asked the court “to limit the possible
testimony about legal advice provided to Defendant.”
(Doc. 65 at 1.) Burnett asked the court to allow Kimberly
Ford to testify as to advice given to Burnett on the ground
that her testimony was not inadmissible hearsay and was
relevant to Burnett's defense of good faith reliance on
counsel's advice and his mental state. (See
generally doc. 70.)
noted above, the court orally ruled on these Motions during
trial. For the reasons set forth herein, the court finds, as
it held during trial, that Burnett's Motion in Limine to
Admit Testimony of Kimberly Ford was due to be denied.
Therefore, the Government's Motion in Limine to Exclude
Legal Opinion Testimony was rendered moot.
to Burnett, “Ms. Ford will testify regarding her work
at the law firm of Dick, Riggs, Miller & Stem, LLP and
the advice given by an attorney at that firm, Howell Riggs,
to Mr. Burnett regarding his compliance with the relevant
contracts.” (Doc. 70 ¶ 1.) Outside the presence of
the jury, the court heard testimony from Kimberly Ford for
the purpose of determining whether there was some foundation
for the admission of her testimony regarding advice given to
Burnett during a bid protest on one of three government
contracts at issue in this case, the contract for backpacks.
(See doc. 71 at 5-6, 10.) Ford testified:
From what I recall, it was for - [Burnett] needed some
guidance regarding whether or not he could use components in
some product that he was making available to the Government
for sale, and whether those components, because those
individual components were from overseas, that it would still
comply with the Buy American Act.
. . .
. . . [As a law clerk, ] I did a lot of the research into
determining whether or not Mr. Burnett would comply with [the
Buy American Act]. So I did research and presented that to
Mr. Riggs for his review . . . .
And then we worked on a letter to, I believe, the contracting
officer, someone within the Government. And I sat in on the
telephone conference calls that we had with Mr. Burnett and
the Government in regards to their questioning of him and his
. . .
Q. . . . [W]hat do you remember about what [Burnett] told you
about how he planned to fulfill the contracts or how he
wanted to fulfill the contracts?
A. Some -- there may be some snaps or something really small
. . .
. . . Some snaps or some small component of whatever the
product was he was providing to the Government . . . .
(Doc. 71 at 4-5.) Specifically, she testified that she
understood the backpack was to be made in the United States,
with only small pieces of the product were coming from
overseas and these small components - part of the larger