United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MATTHEW D. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
RUSHMORE LOAN MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLC, Defendant.
F. MARTINEZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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
and communicating false information about his mortgage.
Pending before the court are the plaintiff's three
motions in limine. (Doc. ##94, 120, 123.) The
motions are denied.
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." United
States v. Tokash, 282 F.3d 962, 968 (7th Cir. 2002).
"The purpose 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 lengthy argument at, or interruption of, the
trial.'" 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).
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
violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(e)(8) "twelve times in
the year before this action was brought" by
communicating false information to a credit bureau (doc.
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."
(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.
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 [m]otions in
limine address 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 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. 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
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.