United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are the motions in limine filed by
Plaintiff Bennie Cunningham (Doc. 68) and Defendants Benjamin
Lewis and Jason Zollars (Doc. 67). The Court heard argument
from the parties and made the rulings below on the record
during the final pretrial conference on November 15, 2017.
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)(“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”). 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 (2nd
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 an in
limine ruling 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, motion in limine rulings 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.
Motion in Limine:
• Plaintiff's Motion in limine No. 1-
Plaintiff seeks to exclude evidence of his prior convictions.
Evidence of the fact that Plaintiff has been convicted of a
felony is probative as to his credibility as a witness under
FRE 609 and is therefore admissible for that purpose.
However, the Court finds that details as to the crime(s) for
which Plaintiff was convicted and the length of his sentence
are more prejudicial than probative and are thus excludable
under FRE 403. The motion is therefore DENIED only as to
evidence of the fact that Plaintiff has been convicted of a
• Plaintiff's Motion in limine No. 2- Plaintiff
moves to bar any evidence as to prior convictions of any
witnesses he may call. Again, evidence of the fact that a
witness has been convicted of a felony is probative as to his
or her credibility as a witness under FRE 609 and is
therefore admissible for that purpose. However, the Court
finds that details as to the crime(s) for which witnesses
were convicted and the length of their sentence(s) are more
prejudicial than probative and are thus excludable under FRE
403. The motion is therefore DENIED only as to evidence or
reference to the fact that any witness has been convicted of
• Plaintiff's Motion in limine No. 3- Plaintiff
moves to bar introduction of any medical records not relevant
to the claim. As drafted, the motion is too vague for the
Court to grant-any irrelevant medical records are already
inadmissible under FRE 402. As such, the motion is DENIED
subject to appropriate objection during the course of trial.
• Plaintiff's Motion in limine No. 4- Plaintiff
moves to bar any evidence regarding Plaintiff's
disciplinary record for incidents other than those related to
the July 10, 2014 incident at issue in this case. Any
disciplinary records unrelated to the underlying incident in
this case are immaterial and irrelevant. As such, the motion
is GRANTED as to any disciplinary records other than those
associated with the July 10, 2014, incident.
• Plaintiff's Motion in limine No. 6- Plaintiff moves
to bar evidence of any unrelated grievances filed by
Plaintiff. Any grievances unrelated to the underlying
incident in this case are immaterial and irrelevant. As such,
the motion is GRANTED as to any disciplinary ...