The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY U.S. District Judge
Monday, 04 June, 2012 02:31:17 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
This case is before the court for ruling on various pre-trial motions in limine filed by the parties. This court has carefully considered all of the arguments advanced by the parties. Following this careful and thorough review, this court rules as follows: (1) Defendants' First Motion in Limine (#38) is GRANTED in part, DENIED in part and RESERVED in part; (2) Plaintiff's First Motion in Limine (#40) is GRANTED; (3) Plaintiff's Second Motion in Limine (#41) is RESERVED; and (4) Defendants' Second Motion in Limine (#51) is GRANTED in part and RESERVED in part.
On August 3, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Complaint (#1) against the Defendants. Plaintiff's Complaint (#1) contained three counts: (1) Count I alleged an illegal seizure of Plaintiff in violation of the Fourth Amendment by Defendants Burgin, Rogers and Wilson; (2) Count II alleged the use of excessive force by Defendants Burgin, Rogers and Wilson against Plaintiff in violation of the Fourth Amendment; and (3) Count III alleges an illegal strip and body cavity search of Plaintiff in violation of the Fourth Amendment by Defendants Burgin, Rogers, Wilson and Weger. On May 11, 2012, this court entered an Opinion (#37) granting, in part, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (#21). Specifically, this court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants on Count I and Count II of Plaintiff's Complaint (#1). As a result, Plaintiff is proceeding to trial on Count III of her Complaint (#1) which alleges that Defendant Weger conducted an illegal strip search and body cavity search of the Plaintiff in violation of the Fourth Amendment at the direction of Defendants Rogers, Burgin and Wilson. There are two key questions which will be the focus of the trial:
(1) was there reasonable suspicion to conduct a strip search of the Plaintiff for contraband; and (2) if there was reasonable suspicion to conduct a strip search, was the scope of the search conducted by Defendant Weger at the Edgar County Jail unconstitutional.
The "motion in limine is an important tool available to the trial judge to ensure the expeditious and evenhanded management of the trial proceedings." Jonasson v. Lutheran Child & Family Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997). "Although the Federal Rules of Evidence do not explicitly authorize in limine rulings, the practice has developed pursuant to the district court's inherent authority to manage the course of trials." Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4 (1984). District courts have "broad discretion in ruling on evidentiary questions during trial or before on motions in limine." Jenkins v. Chrysler Motors Corp., 316 F.3d 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2002). A motion in limine "performs a gatekeeping function and permits the trial judge to eliminate from further consideration evidentiary submissions that clearly ought not be presented to the jury because they clearly would be inadmissible for any purpose." Jonasson, 115 F.3d at 440. Therefore, the moving party bears the burden of establishing that the evidence is not admissible for any purpose. Mason v. City of Chicago, 631 F. Supp. 2d 1052, 1056 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Unless this high standard is met, rulings on evidentiary matters must be deferred until trial so that issues of foundation, relevance and prejudice may be resolved in the proper context. Mason, 631 F. Supp. 2d at 1055-56; Townsend v. Benya, 287 F. Supp. 2d 868, 872 (N.D. Ill. 2003); see also Jonasson, 115 F.3d at 440.
II. DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS IN LIMINE
Defendants included 19 requests in their First Motion in Limine (#38) and one request in their Second Motion in Limine (#51). Plaintiff filed a Response (#46) to Defendants' First Motion in Limine and a Response (#55) to Defendants' Second Motion in Limine.
A. Motions in Limine #1, #2 & #3
In their First Motion (#38), Defendants first asked this court to bar Plaintiff from presenting any evidence, testimony, argument, reference, comment or innuendo regarding the Defendants' liability insurance or indemnification by Edgar County, Illinois ("Edgar County"). Defendants' next asked this court to bar all non-party witnesses from the courtroom except when called to provide testimony. Defendants' third request is to bar any evidence or reference to citizen complaints involving Defendants. In her Response, Plaintiff concedes that these requests should be granted. Therefore, Defendants' first, second and third requests are GRANTED.
Defendants' fourth request is to bar any evidence or reference to the standard of proof in cases other than the standard in cases brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff argues that because this case involves police officers and suspicion of criminal activity, it will be important to distinguish the burden of proof required in a criminal case from the burden of proof required in this case. This court will provide the jury with an instruction explaining the distinction in burden of proof between a civil trial and a criminal trial. Therefore, if Plaintiff's arguments relating to the burden of proof ...