MOTION IN LIMINE
DISCLAIMER: Altiorem Legal Services cannot and does not provide legal advice. The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice, as it is not legal advice; the information in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Altiorem is not a law firm; Altiorem’s staff are not attorneys, cannot act as attorneys, and do not act as attorneys; and any information provided by Altiorem is not a substitute for legal advice from an attorney. Again, none of the information provided in this article should be construed as legal advice, and one should not rely on or use the information contained in this article in one’s legal case. However, if one chooses to use the information contained in this article on one’s legal case, they do so at their own risk and discretion, understanding and agreeing that nothing in this article constitutes legal advice in any way, shape, or form, and that none of the information contained in this article can guarantee a specific outcome, whether positive or negative, on one’s legal case. We bear no responsibility regarding the results and implications of one’s use of the information contained in this article on one’s legal case, or of one’s use of this article in general for any purpose.
WHAT IS A MOTION IN LIMINE?
A “motion” is a court document that asks the court to make a court order, regarding the matters addressed and plead for in the motion, in an existing case. A Motion in Limine is a threshold motion to prevent certain improper evidence from being admitted at trial. “In Limine” is a Latin phrase that means “at the threshold.” “In Limine” means to grant a motion before the trial begins; a Motion in Limine requests, or moves, that certain “improper” evidence in a case be found inadmissible, and that it not be referred to or offered at trial.
There are certain rules involved in making a Motion in Limine, which are usually unknown by people who do not have experience with legal matters. In Utah, there are the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure as well as Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure. Whether it be a civil case—like family law matters, contracts, torts, property disputes, etc.—or criminal case—like a drug charge, theft, embezzlement, murder, etc.—the attorneys on both sides have to be well apprised of these rules and follow them when making a Motion in Limine.
The disclosures made throughout the process of discovery—i.e., the evidence obtained—is an important aspect of every case. Unlike in the movies, there is never a “surprise” piece of evidence that the other party was not expecting, unless it is used for impeachment purposes. Usually, both parties to a case are aware of what the other party is going to present at trial. Each party has a chance to thoroughly examine the evidence and do a thorough follow through of each piece of evidence. This process ensures, or at least is made to ensure, a fight fair in court. A Motion in Limine is a court document that can be filed when one party is not following through with their required discovery disclosures, whether it be that they are not disclosing all of the evidence they have or just not disclosing anything at all. In this case, a Motion in Limine can be used to exclude the undisclosed, discoverable information from being entered as evidence at trial. Excluding the undisclosed information via a Motion in Limine is beneficial to the party making the motion, because the less evidence the other party has, the less resources they have to litigate their case and prove their allegations.
An example of when to file a Motion in Limine would be if a defense attorney requests an alleged victim’s cellphone records, as the content of the cellphone records could potentially be useful to their case, and the prosecuting attorney, who has already received these cell phone records, provides bits and pieces of the cellphone records to the defense attorney. In this instance, the prosecuting attorney is essentially deciding what the defense attorney could use as evidence—which is wholly inappropriate and violates the rules of discovery and the due process of law—instead of having the defense attorney look at the entirety of the evidence and decide for themselves what is useful or not. Not being provided the entirety of the evidence could be severely prejudicial (harmful) to the accused and their case—not to mention that it would violate the accused’s right to the due process of law. In this case, the defense attorney could file a Motion in Limine to explain to the court that they have requested the entirety of the cellphone records from the prosecution, but were only provided with a portion of the records. The defense attorney could request from (or move) the court, via the Motion in Limine, that the prosecuting attorney not be allowed to use any of the cellphone records as evidence if they will not provide the entirety of the cellphone records to the defense attorney. Again, excluding the evidence via a Motion in Limine is beneficial to the party making the motion (in this case, the defense attorney), because the less evidence the other party (in this case, the prosecutor) has, the less resources they have to litigate their case and prove their allegations.
There are penalties for not producing discovery in its entirety and providing it to the other party; the party requesting the discovery could file a Statement of Discovery Issues to penalize the party who refused or otherwise failed to produce and provide the discovery, but that is a topic for another blog. Another example of when to use a Motion in Limine could be in a divorce action where the petitioner has requested bank statements from the respondent, but the respondent refuses to produce and provide the evidence. With the respondent’s refusal, if the respondent lists the bank statements as an exhibit for trial, the petitioner could file a Motion in Limine stating that the respondent did not produce and provide the bank statements when they were requested through the due process of discovery, and, therefore, the evidence should be barred from being entered as exhibits at trial. The petitioner could also move for their attorney’s fees to be paid by the respondent to reimburse the costs associated with preparing and filing the Motion in Limine.
It is important to produce and provide all discoverable information to the other party in a timely manner and in advance of trial, but unfortunately, the other party does not always reciprocate. Having the option to file a Motion in Limine assures the moving party that if the other party is not following the rules of discovery that they are required to follow, there could be consequences that are detrimental to the disobedient party’s case, including, as aforementioned, having evidence barred from trial.
Motions in Limine are to be filed before trial and addressed in a pretrial hearing. This way, if there is a jury trial, the jury is not caused to listen to arguments that could be potentially prejudicial to one side or the other. Motions in Limine are also decided before trial to allow more time to address issues during trial, and to ensure that the parties have a fair chance to argue their case in front of an unbiased jury. It is important to know your options in a case, and to know when certain court documents should be filed, what court document is appropriate to file, and how to attain a positive outcome from filing that court document.
Do you need a Motion in Limine prepared? Let Altiorem Legal Services help you today. We provide high-quality legal services at a fraction of the cost that you would pay with an attorney. We provide a premium experience. We are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced in drafting Motions in Limine, as well as other court documents and pleadings. If you need a high-quality, professional, well-written, well researched, and compelling Motion in Limine drafted, then let us help you! We go above and beyond the average legal industry writing quality that you would receive with most attorneys; we produce high quality, properly written legal documents with impeccable grammar, punctuation, spelling, structure, flow, information, free of errors, compelling legal arguments, and persuasive legal conclusions. Let our team of professional paralegals help you today!
If you are interested in retaining our services to draft a Motion in Limine or defend against a Motion in Limine, or anything else, we can be contacted at (801) 855-6541 (text or call) and at email@example.com. If you have a project in mind that you would like us to work on, please click here to send us a project request and get a quote; alternatively, you can send us an email detailing the work you need performed.
 Webster’s Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/in%20limine