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Judge Miller: Motions in Limine

Motions in limine must be filed at least 7 days before the final pretrial conference. Judge Miller's Order Controlling Trial limits each side to a single motion in limine, but does not limit the number of points that a motion can raise.

Judge Miller views orders in limine as preliminary injunctions. Consistent with that view, Judge Miller declines to enter an order in limine unless the moving party faces a significant risk of irreparable harm if the order is not issued (if, in other words, the moving party must rely on an in-trial objection to evidence believed to be inadmissible). A motion in limine should indicate why the movant thinks the targeted evidence might be offered, why the movant believes the targeted evidence will be inadmissible, and what injury the movant risks if an in-trial objection is required.

As with any request for preliminary injunction, the motion must clearly identify for the court and opposing counsel what evidence would be excluded. Because orders in limine are enforceable by contempt, Judge Miller denies motions that would allow reasonable minds to differ on what evidence is covered. Accordingly, Judge Miller is less likely to grant a motion in limine directed to broad categories of evidence (e.g., "evidence relevant only to punitive damages") than one directed to a specific class of evidence (e.g., "evidence of the defendant's net worth").

Judge Miller's orders in limine are not final rulings on the admissibility of evidence; they are purely interlocutory. They simply require that the topic be discussed again outside the jury's hearing before the jury hears anything about the evidence covered by the order.