United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge.
before the Court are motions in limine filed by
Defendants (Doc. 125). Plaintiff Salvador Herrera filed a
response (Doc. 129). The motions were addressed during the
Final Pretrial Conference on August 10, 2016, and the Court
made its ruling regarding motions in limine 1-4 on the record
and took motion in limine #5 under advisement.
purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the trial
court to rule on the relevance and admissibility of evidence
before it is offered at trial. See Luce v. United
States, 469 U.S. 38, 41, n.4 (1984) (“[A]lthough
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.”). It serves to “aid
the trial process by enabling the court to rule in advance of
trial on the relevance of certain forecasted evidence, as to
issues that are definitely set for trial, without lengthy
argument at, or interruption of, the trial.” Wilson
v. Williams, 182 F.3d 562, 566 (7th Cir. 1999) (citing
Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d 136, 141 (2d Cir.
in limine also may save the parties time, effort,
and cost in preparing and presenting their cases. Pivot
Point Intern., Inc. v. Charlene Products, Inc., 932
F.Supp. 220, 222 (N.D. Ill. 1996). Often, however, the better
practice is to wait until trial to rule on objections,
particularly when admissibility substantially depends upon
facts which may be developed there. Jonasson v. Lutheran
Child and Family Services, 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir.
movant has the burden of demonstrating that the evidence is
inadmissible on any relevant ground, “for any
purpose.” Plair v. E.J. Brach & Sons,
Inc., 864 F.Supp. 67, 69 (N.D. Ill. 1994). The court may
deny a motion in limine when it “lacks the
necessary specificity with respect to the evidence to be
excluded.” Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. of
Pittsburgh v. L.E. Myers Co. Group, 937 F.Supp. 276, 287
(S.D.N.Y. 1996). Moreover, the court may alter a ruling
in limine based on developments at trial or sound
judicial discretion. Luce, 469 U.S. at 41.
“Denial of a motion in limine does not
necessarily mean that all evidence contemplated by the motion
will be admitted at trial.” Hawthorne Partners v.
AT&T Tech., Inc., 831 F.Supp. 1398, 1401 (N.D. Ill.
1993). Denial only means that the court cannot decide
admissibility outside the context of trial. Plair,
864 F.Supp. at 69.
may reserve judgment until trial, so that the motion in
limine is placed “in an appropriate factual
context.” Nat’l Union, 937 F.Supp. at
287. Stated another way, rulings in limine are
“subject to change when the case unfolds” at
trial. Luce, 469 U.S. at 41. 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.” Id. The
court should exclude evidence on a motion in limine
“only when the evidence is clearly inadmissible on all
potential grounds.” Jonasson, 115 F.3d at 440.
these principles in mind, the Court rules as follows.
● Defendants’ Motion In Limine No. 1 -
Defendants move to bar Herrera from offering any testimony or
otherwise suggesting that the State of Illinois will
indemnify Defendants. Herrera does not object. Accordingly,
Defendants’ motion is GRANTED.
● Defendants’ Motion In Limine No. 2 -
Defendants move to bar Herrera’s grievances and
responses to grievances as inadmissible hearsay.
Defendants’ motion offers the Court very little detail
as far as to what the grievances actually contain or how
Defendants anticipate their use. For these reasons, the Court
RESERVES ruling on this motion in limine. The Court
requests that prior to eliciting any testimony regarding any
grievances, the subject matter or contents of any grievances,
or any documentation of any grievances, that Herrera notify
the Court so that it can address the admissibility of the
grievances in advance so as to determine if, for example, an
offer of proof is necessary.
● Defendants’ Motion In Limine No. 3 -
Defendants move that Herrera be barred from testifying
regarding the causation of any medical or mental health
conditions. The Court GRANTS Defendants’ motion to the
extent that Herrera is not personally qualified to provide
medical expert testimony as to diagnoses, causation or
prognosis. Herrera, however, is permitted to testify as to
the nature of his pain and other symptoms following the
incident in question.
● Defendants’ Motion In Limine No. 4 -
Defendants move to bar Herrera from offering statements of
any medical or mental health professionals. The Court GRANTS
Defendants’ motion to the extent that Herrera is not
qualified to offer testimony regarding any statements made by
any treating medical professionals other than what is
documented in the medical records admitted into evidence.
● Defendants’ Motion In Limine No. 5 -
Defendants move to bar Herrera from presenting evidence that
contradicts the findings of the Prison Disciplinary Board
(hereinafter “the Board”). The Court GRANTS
Defendants’ motion in limine to the extent
that if Herrera testifies that he did not assault or did not
participate in the assault of the officers on the date of the
incident, the Court will issue appropriate Gilbert
instructions because Herrera pled guilty to the Board’s
findings that Herrera rushed at least two officers and
assaulted Officer Dobbs. Otherwise, the Court will not issue
Gilbert instructions ...