Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hatcher v. Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 4, 2018

DR. LAURA J. HATCHER, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court are the motions in limine filed by Plaintiff (Doc. 149) and Defendant (Docs. 150).

         The 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 Cir. 1996).

         Motions 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. 1997).

         The 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.

         A court 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.

         With these principles in mind, the Court rules as follows.

         Plaintiff's Motion in Limine:

• Plaintiff's Motion in limine No. 1 - Plaintiff moves to exclude any argument or the presentation of any evidence that Chancellor Cheng's decision to reverse the decision of the Judicial Review Board which unanimously recommended that plaintiff be granted both tenure and promotion is entitled to institutional deference. The motion is GRANTED and Defendant is prohibited from making any argument or suggesting by insinuation or innuendo that Cheng's decision is entitled to any deference.
• Plaintiff's Motion in limine No. 2 - Plaintiff moves to exclude any argument concerning the presentation of the contents of the Judicial Review Board's written findings and recommendations for the grievance appeal of Professor Jarlen Don or Chancellor Cheng's reasons therefor. The motion is taken under advisement.
• Plaintiff's Motion in limine No. 3 - Plaintiff moves to exclude any argument or the presentation of any evidence regarding the procedural history of plaintiff's application for tenure and promotion other than the material that Chancellor Cheng reviewed before reversing the unanimous decision of the Judicial Review Board. The motion is DENIED subject to appropriate objections at trial. Defendant shall notify the Court before seeking to introduce any evidence pertaining to the procedural history.

         Defendant's Motions in Limine:

• Defendant's Motion in limine No. 1 - Defendant moves to bar Plaintiff and any witnesses called by Plaintiff from mentioning to the jury or introducing into evidence any matters relating to Plaintiff's claims that have been disposed of by prior Court orders, including any claim that the University (or any administrator) discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of her gender, denied Plaintiff due process, or retaliated against Plaintiff on the basis of activity protected under the First Amendment. The motion is DENIED as vague.

         • Defendant's Motion in limine No. 2 - Defendant moves to bar Plaintiff and any witnesses called by Plaintiff from mentioning to the jury or introducing into evidence any matters relating to information regarding the educational or employment experiences at the University of persons other than Plaintiff. The motion is GRANTED without objection.

• Defendant's Motion in limine No. 3 - Defendant moves to bar Plaintiff and any witnesses called by Plaintiff from mentioning to the jury or introducing into evidence any matters relating to statements that Dr. Cheng was required to accept the recommendation of the JRB to award Plaintiff tenure. The motion is taken under advisement.

         • Defendant's Motion in limine No. 4 - Defendant moves to bar Plaintiffs and any witnesses called by Plaintiff from mentioning to the jury or introducing into evidence any matters relating to opinions about the alleged motives of University administrators. As this case involves a claim for retaliation, the motion is DENIED.

• Defendant's Motion in limine No. 5 - Defendant moves to bar Plaintiffs and any witnesses called by Plaintiff from mentioning to the jury or introducing into evidence any matters relating to opinions of “experts” or other witnesses not identified by Plaintiff in her Interrogatory Answers and Rule 26 Disclosures. The motion is DENIED as it relates to Mr. Hoops.

         • Defendant's Motion in limine No. 6 - Defendant moves to bar Plaintiffs and any witnesses called by Plaintiff from mentioning to the jury or introducing into evidence any matters relating to Plaintiff's membership in a union, and the union's grievances and other efforts made on Plaintiff's behalf. The motion is DENIED as vague.

• Defendant's Motion in limine No. 7 - Defendant moves to bar Plaintiffs and any witnesses called by Plaintiff from mentioning to the jury or introducing into evidence any matters relating to alleged ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.