United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
A. BRADY JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Reconsider and Response to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine
(ECF No. 180). Defendants ask this Court to reconsider its
January 28, 2019, Opinion and Order which preliminarily
determined that Defendants should be barred from introducing
evidence regarding Plaintiff's past arrests and
convictions. The Court finds no basis to change its prior
opinion, and therefore denies Defendants' motion.
October 27, 2017, Order for Civil Trial and Final Pretrial
Conference, Order Controlling the Case (ECF No. 133), this
matter was set for trial to begin on June 26, 2018. In
addition, this Court ordered as follows with respect to
motions in limine:
In all jury cases, motions in limine are to be e-filed, with
supporting briefs, not later than 20 days prior to trial. Any
response is to be e-filed 7 days thereafter with replies to
be filed 3 days after any response is filed.
(ECF No. 133 at 4). Defendants filed their Motion in Limine
(ECF No. 162) and supporting Brief (ECF No. 163) on June 6,
2018. Plaintiff filed his Motion in Limine (ECF No. 165) on
June 11, 2018.
18, 2018, this Court entered an Order (ECF No. 167)
continuing the trial management conference and jury trial.
Following a telephonic scheduling conference, this Court set
the telephonic final pretrial conference for March 4, 2019,
and the trial for March 19, 2019. (ECF No. 171). The final
pretrial conference and trial have subsequently been reset on
three additional occasions, and trial is now set to begin on
October 1, 2019. (ECF No. 184).
having been no response to either parties' motion in
limine, this Court issued its Opinion and Order on those
motions on January 28, 2019 (ECF No. 174). In that Opinion
and Order, this Court granted Plaintiff's first and third
motions in limine, barring Defendants' counsel and
witnesses from making any mention regarding any of
Plaintiff's prior arrests or convictions. (Id.
at 4-5). This Court denied Plaintiff's second motion in
limine to bar evidence of the blood alcohol test taken the
day of his arrest. (Id. at 4).
four months later, on May 14, 2019, Defendants filed the
instant motion to reconsider. Defendants recognize that they
failed to file a response to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine
but suggest that this failure was due to their belief that
the continuations of the trial also served to continue the
briefing schedule on the motions in limine. (ECF No. 180 at
courts has the inherent authority to manage the course of a
trial. Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4
(1984). The Court may exercise this power by issuing an
evidentiary ruling in advance of trial. Id. A party
may seek such a ruling by filing a motion in limine, which
requests the Court's guidance on what evidence will (or
will not) be admitted at trial. Perry v. City of
Chi., 733 F.3d 248, 252 (7th Cir. 2013). Motions in
limine serve a gatekeeping function by allowing the judge
“to eliminate from further consideration evidentiary
submissions that clearly ought not be presented to the
jury.” Jonasson v. Lutheran Child & Family
Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997). By defining
the evidentiary boundaries, motions in limine both permit
“the parties to focus their preparation on those
matters that will be considered by the jury, ”
id., and help ensure “that trials are not
interrupted mid-course for the consideration of lengthy and
complex evidentiary issues, ” United States v.
Tokash, 282 F.3d 962, 968 (7th Cir. 2002).
all evidentiary matters, the Court has broad discretion when
ruling on motions in limine. United States v. Ajayi,
808 F.3d 1113, 1121 (7th Cir. 2015); Jenkins v. Chrysler
Motors Corp., 316 F.3d 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2002).
Moreover, the Court can change its ruling at trial,
“even if nothing unexpected happens[.]”
Luce, 469 U.S. at 41. Rulings in limine are
speculative in effect; essentially, they are advisory
opinions. Wilson v. Williams, 182 F.3d 562, 570 (7th
Cir. 1999) (Coffey, J., concurring in part and dissenting in
orders, which have not been taken to judgment or determined
on appeal, may be reconsidered at any time by a trial court,
and the trial court has discretion to make a different
determination on any such matters. Cameo Convalescent
Ctr. Inc. v. Percy, 800 F.2d 108, 110 (7th Cir. 1986).
However, this Court's rulings “are not intended as
mere first drafts, subject to revision and reconsideration at
a litigant's pleasure, ” and “ill-founded
requests for reconsideration of matters previously decided .
. . needlessly take the court's attention from current
matters and visit inequity upon opponents who, prevailing ...