United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE NORTHERN
DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
before the Court is plaintiff Anthony Smith's
(“Smith”) Consolidated Motion in Limine
, wherein he asserts seventeen different motions in
limine. Defendant Union Insurance Company
(“Union”) filed a response, stating its position
as to each of the seventeen motions. The Court has considered
the parties' arguments, in addition to relevant
authorities, and is now prepared to rule.
Court has set forth the factual and procedural background
which has led the case to its present posture multiple times
in previous orders. It will, therefore, refrain from doing so
again now and, instead, focus solely upon the substance of
the seventeen different motions urged by Smith. As set forth
below, the Court finds that some of the motions are
well-taken, while others are not. Accordingly, the
consolidated motion will be granted in part.
for Motions in Limine
“The purpose of a motion in limine is to allow
the trial court to rule in advance of trial on the
admissibility and relevance of certain forecasted
evidence.” Harkness v. Bauhaus U.S.A., Inc.,
2015 WL 631512, at *1 (N.D. Miss. Feb. 13, 2015) (additional
citations omitted). In this context, “[e]vidence should
not be excluded . . . unless it is clearly inadmissible on
all potential grounds.” Id.
(quoting Fair v. Allen, 2011 WL 830291, at *1 (W.D.
La. Mar. 3, 2011)) (emphasis added).
rulings “should often be deferred until trial so that
questions of foundation, relevancy and potential prejudice
can be resolved in proper context.” Rivera v.
Salazar, 2008 WL 2966006, at *1 (S.D. Tex. July 30,
2008) (citing Sperberg v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Co., 519 F.2d 708, 712 (6th Cir. 1975)). Moreover, the
“[d]enial of a motion in limine does not
necessarily mean that all evidence contemplated by the motion
will be admitted at trial. Denial merely means that without
the context of trial, the court is unable to determine
whether the evidence in question should be excluded.”
Gonzalez v. City of Three Rivers, 2013 WL 1150003,
at *1 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 8, 2013) (quoting Hawthorne
Partners v. AT&T Tech., Inc., 831 F.Supp. 1398, 1400
(N.D. Ill. 1993); Luce v. United States, 469 U.S.
38, 41 n.4, 105 S.Ct. 460, 83 L.Ed.2d 443 (1984)).
Court has previously emphasized that “[t]he purpose of
motions in limine is not to re-iterate matters which
are set forth elsewhere in the Rules of Civil Procedure or
Rules of Evidence, but, rather, to identify specific
issues which are likely to arise at trial, and which, due to
their complexity or potentially prejudicial nature, are best
addressed in the context of a motion in
limine.” Maggette v. BL Development
Corp., 2011 WL 2134578, at *4 (N.D. Miss. May 21, 2011)
(emphasis in original); see also Estate of Wilson v.
Mariner Health Care, Inc., 2008 WL 5255819, at*1 (N.D.
Miss. Dec. 16, 2008) (“[M]otions in limine
should be narrowly tailored to address issues which will
likely arise at trial and which require a pre-trial ruling
due to their complexity and/or the possibility of prejudice
if raised in a contemporaneous objection.”).
Additionally, a motion “set[ting] forth a lengthy
laundry list of matters, most of them of a highly vague
nature . . . constitutes an improper ‘shotgun'
motion which fails to meet this court's standards for
motions in limine.” Estate of Wilson,
2008 WL 5255819, at *1.
Court will address each of Smith's seventeen motions in
first motion relates to his receipt of social security funds.
On this point, he argues that Union should not be able to use
the fact that Smith has received funds from a collateral
source, which is wholly independent of the alleged
wrongdoing, as a mitigating factor for the damage caused by
its conduct. Union states that it does not oppose this
request. It will be granted.
second motion, Smith argues that “[a]ny reference or
suggestion that Union Insurance Company is now sorry or
regrets the conduct in question is an improper appeal for
jury sympathy” and should therefore be excluded. The
motion is unopposed and will be granted.
third motion requests exclusion of “[a]ny claim or
comment regarding the financial consequences of any judgment
rendered against [Union] in this proceeding or that any
payment made by [Union] may effect premiums or costs to the
insurance company and therefore result in an increase of
premiums charged to other businesses, or the public in
general.” Union does not oppose this request.
Therefore, it will be granted.
next motion requests that the Court prohibit any statements
by defense counsel comparing Smith's decision to file a
lawsuit to “playing the lottery” or any similar
phrase. Smith avers that a comment of this nature is done
solely for the purpose of inflaming the jury and should be
response, Union states that it “has no intention of
using the terms, ‘playing the lottery',
‘lotto or powerball', or ‘roll of the
dice'. Therefore, it does not oppose this request.”
The motion will be granted.