How-To: Write a Motion in Limine
||Your civil opponent will likely introduce certain evidence at trial
||That evidence is bogus and harmful
||You ask the Court to prevent the use of that certain evidence at trial
"Lat.: at the beginning or the threshhold. see motion in limine"
Motion In Limine
"a motion used to exclude reference to anticipated evidence claimed to be objectionable until the admissibility of the questionable evidence can be determined either before or during the trial by presenting the court, out of the presence of the jury, offers and objections to the evidence. The motion seeks to avoid injection into trial of irrelevant, inadmissible, or prejudicial evidence at any point, including the voir dire examinations, opening statements, and direct and cross-examinations, and therefore prevents mistrials based on evidentiary irregularities."
II. Legal Citations
Rule 1 Fed. R. Civ. P. | Scope and Purpose
These rules govern the procedure in all civil actions and proceedings in the United States district courts, except as stated in Rule 81. They should be construed, administered, and employed by the court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.
Rule 402 Fed. Evid. | General Admissibility of Relevant Evidence
Relevant evidence is admissible unless any of the following provides otherwise:
• the United States Constitution;
• a federal statute;
• these rules; or
• other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court.
Irrelevant evidence is not admissible.
Rule 403 Fed. Evid. | Excluding Relevant Evidence for Prejudice, Confusion, Waste of Time, or Other Reasons
The court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.
|1||± TBD case. Pro Se Filing. USFLMD. Perjury from a State Officer.|
|2||✓ Granted | USFLMD | 2019 | Attorney Filing | Hearsay evidence explicitly prohibited by statute|
|3||✓ Granted | USFLMD | 2018 | Attorney Filing | Judicial Estoppel|
|4||¿? Unknown Outcome | Duval | 2012 | Attorney Filing | Plaintiff's Summmary, Fraudulent Transfer|
|5||✓ Partially Granted | DOAH | 2016 | Attorney Filing | Florida Bar complaints, Code Enforcements...|
|6||✓ Partially Granted | DOAH | 2018 | Attorney Filing | Iowa Bid Protest|
|1||USFLMD Version | Replace all placeholder tags (eg "[plfName]" becomes "John Doe").|
V. Quick Commentary
- Purpose: To prevent corrupting the jury's ears with prejudicial information
"We use the term in a broad sense to refer to any motion, whether made before or during trial, to exclude anticipated prejudicial evidence before the evidence is actually offered."
- see Luce v United States, 469 US 38 (1984)
- Appealability: Not Immediate (ie, orders on limine are not interlocutory orders)
"An in limine evidentiary ruling does not constitute a final ruling on admissibility, Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41-42, 105 S.Ct. 460, 463-64, 83 L.Ed.2d 448 (1984), and an appeal of such an order is barred. Coursen v. A.H. Robins Co., 764 F.2d 1329, 1342 (9th Cir.), corrected by 773 F.2d 1049 (9th Cir.1985)...The rule is a practical one. There is no reason to spend scarce judicial resources reviewing a decision that may be changed due to developments at trial."
- see Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d 136 (2d Cir. 1996)
- Fluidity: Orders in Limine are usually entered without prejudice (ie, you can ask again if you're denied originally)
“A motion in limine presents a pretrial issue of admissibility of evidence that is likely to arise at trial, and as such, the order, like any other interlocutory order, remains subject to reconsideration by the court throughout the trial."
- see In re Seroquel Prods. Liab. Litig. (USFLMD 2/4/09)
“The ruling is subject to change when the case unfolds, particularly if the actual testimony differs from what was contained in the defendant's proffer. Indeed even if nothing unexpected happens at trial, the district judge is free, in the exercise of sound judicial discretion, to alter a previous in limine ruling."
- see Luce v United States, 469 US 38 (1984)
- General Warning: Make sure your request does not infringe on the province of the jury
“As the ultimate fact-finder, it is the jury that must determine, finally, where the truth in any case lies, and the district judge as gatekeeper may not usurp this function."
- see USA v Frazier, 387 F.3d 1244 (11th Cir. 2004)
- Bad News: Motions in Limine are "disfavored"; and, thus, rarely granted.
"Motions in limine are generally disfavored. See United States v. Amor , No. 14-20750-CR-Lenard/Goodman, 2015 WL 6438479, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 23, 2015). Evidence is excluded upon a motion in limine "only if the evidence is clearly inadmissible for any purpose." Stewart v. Hooters of Am., Inc. , No. 8:04-cv-40-T-17-MAP, 2007 WL 1752873, at *1 (M.D. Fla. June 18, 2007)."
- see Acevedo v. NCL, 317 F. Supp. 3d 1188 (S.D. Fla. 2017)
- Bad News: there is no well-established Standard of Review. Thus, things are decided on a case-by-case basis; and judges have a lot of discretion.
"The district court has broad discretion to determine the admissibility of evidence, and we will not disturb the court's judgment absent a clear abuse of discretion. "
- see United States v. McLean, 138 F.3d 1398, 1403 (11th Cir. 1998)
- Please download as many sample documents as you'd like
- Feel free to use the templates (see Part IV - above) to help draft your 'Motion in Limine'
- Save the final version as a PDF file.
- File the final version in court
If you suspect your civil opponent will try to inject tainted/bogus evidence at trial then you can ask the Court to prevent that from happening.
Congratulations! You're now booked up
on how to write a Motion in Limine!
Please get the justice you deserve.