United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE
D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE
is Plaintiff's Motion in Limine. Doc. #41. As set forth
below, Plaintiff's motion is granted in part and denied
in part. The parties are reminded that these rulings are
interlocutory. Thus, the denial of a request to bar evidence
at this juncture preserves nothing for review, and the
parties may re-assert their objections at trial if they deem
it appropriate to do so. Evidence barred by this Order shall
not be discussed in the jury's presence (including during
opening statements) without leave of the Court. The parties
are free to suggest (out of the jury's presence) that
something has occurred during the trial justifying a change
in the Court's interlocutory ruling.
Plaintiff's First Contact With Counsel
moves to exclude evidence concerning when he contacted an
attorney, and the reasons for contacting an attorney.
Defendant does not object to this motion. Plaintiff's
motion is granted.
Inflammatory and/or Improper Arguments and Comments
Plaintiff moves to prohibit arguments or comments about the
following: (1) an award of damages would result in other
litigation, (2) an award of damages will result in a windfall
or jackpot to Plaintiff, (3) personal comments about the
validity of Plaintiff's case, (4) personal comments about
the validity of personal injury cases generally, (5) the
impact a verdict may have on Defendant, including a claim of
having to file for bankruptcy protection, (6) the jurors
should be skeptical of lawsuits, and (7) people must stop
wasting taxpayers' money and jurors' valuable time on
lawsuits. In response, Defendant argues Plaintiff's
request for a “blanket prohibition of the vague topics
listed should be denied.” Doc. #43, at 1. Defendant
contends it has “no idea as to the arguments which may
be made by Plaintiff to which Defendant is entitled to
refute.” Id. Defendant, however, only raises
an issue with one topic on Plaintiff's list. With regard
to Plaintiff's request prohibiting comments about the
validity of his case, Defendant maintains the request is
overly broad, and if the request is granted, Defendant could
be prohibited from commenting as to the legitimacy of
Court grants Plaintiff's motion with regard to all topics
listed with the exception of personal comments about the
validity of Plaintiff's case. The Court agrees with
Defendant; the request to exclude personal comments about the
validity of his case is vague. It is unclear what particular
comments he seeks to exclude, and the breadth of the request
seems overbroad. For example, if the request seeks to
preclude Defendant from properly challenging Plaintiff's
credibility, such a request would be denied. Additionally, if
Plaintiff's request seeks to improperly limit
Defendant's closing argument, that request would also be
denied. In this regard, the parties are reminded that
“[c]ounsel are given wide latitude in arguing
inferences from the evidence presented.” Ratliff v.
Schiber Truck Co., 150 F.3d 949, 957 (8th Cir. 1998)
(citation omitted). However, “counsel must not go
beyond the evidence and issues drawn by the instructions or
urge prejudicial matters or a claim or a defense which the
evidence and issues drawn by the instructions do not
justify….” Id. For these reasons, the
Court denies Plaintiff's request to exclude personal
comments about the validity of his case.
asks to exclude evidence of or reference to any settlement
offer. Defendant does not object to this request.
Plaintiff's motion is granted.
Personal Injury Recovery is Non-Taxable
asks to exclude evidence of or reference to recovery for a
personal injury being non-taxable. Defendant has no objection
to this request. This motion is granted.
seeks exclusion of references to and evidence of other
lawsuits. Defendant does not object to this request.
Plaintiff's motion is granted.
Health Conditions or Injuries Unrelated to Injuries ...