Williams v. Rushmore Loan Management Services, LLC

Filing 135

ORDER denying plaintiff's motions in limine 94 120 123 . See attached ruling. Signed by Judge Donna F. Martinez on 3/2/17. (Constantine, A.)

Download PDF
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT MATTHEW D. WILLIAMS, : : : : : : : : : : Plaintiff, v. RUSHMORE LOAN MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC, Defendant. CASE NO. 3:15CV673(RNC) RULING The plaintiff, Matthew Williams, alleges that the defendant, Rushmore Loan Management Services, violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. by communicating with him instead of his attorney information about his mortgage. and communicating false Pending before the court are the plaintiff's three motions in limine.1 (Doc. ##94, 120, 123.) The motions are denied. I. Legal Standard "'Motion in limine', loosely translated, means 'motion at the threshold.'" 21 Charles Alan Wright & Kenneth Graham, Jr., Federal Practice and Procedure § 5037.10 (2d ed. 2005). Motions in limine are "well established devices" that "settle evidentiary disputes in advance so that trials are not interrupted mid-course for the consideration of lengthy and complex evidentiary issues." States v. Tokash, 282 F.3d 962, 968 (7th Cir. 2002). 1 United "The purpose On January 6, 2017, U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny referred the motions to the undersigned. (Doc. #126.) of an in limine motion is '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 trial.'" lengthy argument at, or interruption of, the Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d 136, 141 (2d Cir. 1996). See, e.g., Hannah v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 3:12cv1361(VAB), 2017 WL 690179, at *2 (D. Conn. Feb. 21, 2017)("The purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the trial court to rule in advance of trial on the admissibility and relevance of certain forecasted evidence"); Wechsler v. Hunt Health Sys., Ltd., 381 F. Supp. 2d 135, 140 (S.D.N.Y. 2003)(same). "District courts have discretion to determine evidentiary issues presented in motions in limine in advance of trial." In re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litig., No. 14-MC-2543(JMF), 2016 WL 4410008, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 18, 2016). II. Discussion In the pending motions in limine, the plaintiff requests that the Court make findings of liability. Specifically, the plaintiff asks the Court to find as a matter of law that the defendant (1) year violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(e)(8) "twelve times in the before this action was brought" by communicating false information to a credit bureau (doc. #94); (2) violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692f(1) by including charges that were not due in its communications (doc. #120); and 2 (3) violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(2)(A) by "falsely stating that [plaintiff's] property was in foreclosure and that foreclosure was imminent on a date certain." (Doc. #123.) The plaintiff also asks the Court to find that the defendant's "defenses of setoff and recoupment are meritless." (Doc. #94.) The plaintiff contends that there is no factual dispute as to these claims and cites to affidavits and various other evidence. "A motion in limine is not the proper vehicle for seeking a dispositive ruling on a claim." Hana Fin., Inc. v. Hana Bank, 735 F.3d 1158, 1162 n.4 (9th Cir. 2013). A motion in limine is used to obtain pretrial rulings on the admissibility of evidence, "not to determine the sufficiency of the evidence or merits of an issue." Montgomery v. Great Am. Assurance Co., No. 12-20503-CV, 2013 WL 12093809, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 8, 2013). [m]otions in limine address "It is well settled that evidentiary questions and are inappropriate devices for resolving substantive issues, such as the sufficiency of the evidence to support a claim or defense." Bowers v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 563 F. Supp. 2d 508, 532 (D.N.J. 2008)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). See, e.g., Dry Clean Super Ctr., Inc. v. Kwik Indus., Inc., No. 08-CV-00578-WJM-CBS, 2012 WL 503510, at *4 (D. Colo. Feb. 15, 2012)("An in limine motion is not a proper vehicle for a party to ask the Court to weigh the sufficiency of the evidence to support a particular claim or defense, because [t]hat is the function of a 3 motion for summary judgment, with its accompanying and crucial procedural safeguards.")(quotation marks and citations omitted); Dunn ex rel Albery v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 264 F.R.D. 266, 274-75 (E.D. Mich. 2009) ("[M]otions in limine are meant to deal with discrete evidentiary issues related to trial . . . . The denial of a motion in limine is warranted where the moving party seeks to argue the merits of its case and preclude the non-moving party from presenting its case."); C & E Servs., Inc. v. Ashland Inc., 539 F. Supp. 2d 316, 323 (D.D.C. 2008) ("a motion in limine should not be used to resolve factual disputes or weigh evidence"); Witness Sys., Inc. v. Nice Sys., Inc., No. 1:06CV126(TCB), 2008 WL 2047633, at *1 (N.D. Ga. May 10, 2008) ("As an issue of law in the Court's province, Defendants should have raised [it] in a properly supported motion for summary judgment rather than in a motion in limine . . . ."); Mavrinac v. Emergency Med. Ass'n of Pittsburgh, No. 04-1880, 2007 WL 2908007 at *1 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 2, 2007) ("Motions in limine are inappropriate vehicles to seek a final determination with respect to a substantive cause of action and should not be used as a substitute for a motion for summary judgment"); Natural Resources Defense Council v. Rodgers, No. CIV-S-88-1658(LKK), 2005 WL 1388671, at *1 n.2 (E.D. Cal. June 9, 2005) ("Motions in limine address evidentiary questions and are inappropriate devices for resolving substantive issues."); Provident Life & Acc. Ins. Co. v. Adie, 176 F.R.D. 246, 250 (E.D. 4 Mich. 1997) ("If [defendant] wanted to preclude [plaintiff] from raising these defenses at trial because there was no genuine issue of material fact as to them, then he should not have filed a motion in limine . . . . but should instead have filed a summary judgment motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56."); 75 Am. Jur.2d Trial § 44 (2017) (stating that motions in limine should not be used as "unnoticed motions for summary judgment or motions to dismiss. . . . Moreover, deficiencies in pleadings or evidence are not appropriately resolved by a motion in limine. Clearly, a motion in limine may not properly be used as a vehicle to circumvent the requirements of rules of procedure."); 21 Charles Alan Wright & Kenneth Graham, Jr., Federal Practice and Procedure § 5037.10 (2d ed. 2005)(observing that "case law provides ammunition against those who would use the motion in limine as a substitute for a motion for summary judgment or other peremptory ruling"). Here, in the guise of motions in limine, the plaintiff seeks dispositive rulings on the merits of his claims. As explained above, this is procedurally improper. Accordingly, the plaintiff's motions in limine (doc. ##94, 120, 123) are denied. SO ORDERED at Hartford, Connecticut this 2nd day of March, 2017. ___________/s/________________ Donna F. Martinez United States Magistrate Judge 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?