Williams v. Rushmore Loan Management Services, LLC
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.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
MATTHEW D. WILLIAMS,
RUSHMORE LOAN MANAGEMENT
The plaintiff, Matthew Williams, alleges that the defendant,
Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. by communicating
information about his mortgage.
Pending before the court are the
plaintiff's three motions in limine.1
(Doc. ##94, 120, 123.)
motions are denied.
"'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).
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
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.
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
violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(e)(8) "twelve times in the
information to a credit bureau (doc. #94);
violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692f(1) by including charges that
were not due in its communications (doc. #120); and
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."
The plaintiff also asks
the Court to find that the defendant's "defenses of setoff and
recoupment are meritless."
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).
"It is well settled that
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,
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
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
Provident Life & Acc. Ins. Co. v. Adie, 176 F.R.D. 246, 250 (E.D.
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.
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,
Donna F. Martinez
United States Magistrate Judge
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