Thursday, April 07, 2005

Motion in Limine: Part 1 of 3 parts

My firm's practice emphasis is Personal Injury. Nothing else - not wills, divorces. I usually file a Motion in Limine on general issues early so that I can set the tone for depositions and other discovery issues that crop up during a case. Almost always, I file an extensive MIL within sixty days of service of an Answer. The MIL is lengthy, but I have won every single point, or had defense counsel agree to them in advance.

Here's Part 1:


Plaintiff files this Motion in Limine and moves this Court for an Order prohibiting counsel for the Defense from making any comment, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, concerning any of the matters set forth:


APPROACH THE BENCH: Plaintiff requests that Defense counsel first approach the Bench and obtain a ruling of the Court outside the presence and hearing of all prospective jurors, or jurors ultimately selected in this case, in regard to any alleged theory of such matters contained herein, at trial and mentioned to jury at Voir Dire.


INFORM WITNESSES: Plaintiff moves the Court for an Order directing counsel to inform any and all defense witnesses of the Court order regarding these matters, and to instruct any and all such witnesses to refrain from mentioning any such matters in the presence and hearing of all prospective jurors or jurors ultimately selected in this case until defense counsel has obtained a ruling in compliance with this order that such matters would be admissible as evidence in this case.


COLLATERAL SOURCE PAYMENTS/BENEFITS: Any reference or suggestion that Plaintiff has received, has been entitled to receive, will receive, or will become entitled to receive, benefits of any kind or character from a collateral source, including, but not limited to, the following: (A) Benefits from collateral insurance coverage; (B) Services furnished without charge; (C) Compensation for time not actually worked; (D) Social Security or pensions; (E) Workers' compensation benefits; (F) Medicaid or Medicare. See Denton v. Conway Express, Inc., 261 Ga. 41 (1991); Georgia Power Co. v. Flagan, 261 Ga. 41 (1991); Bennett v. Haley, 132 Ga. App. 512, 525 (1974). See also Warren v. Ballard, 266 Ga. 408 (2), 467 S.E.2d 891 (1996); Worthy v. Kendall, 222 Ga. App. 324, 474 S.E.2d 627 (1996).


OTHER COMPENSATION. That the plaintiff, by reason of age, infirmity, or otherwise, is now or may be entitled in the future to receive any compensation or benefits by reason of the Social Security Law of the United States or from any governmental agency such as the veterans' Administration, Medicare, or sources of this nature.


ATTACKS ON PLAINTIFF'S TRIAL COUNSEL BY DEFENSE ATTORNEYS. Any reference or suggestion as a personal attack and uncivil comments about plaintiff's trial counsel by the defendant or their attorneys. Personal attacks on adversarial counsel has no place with the truth-seeking context of litigation.


ADVERTISEMENT BY PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY. Any reference or suggestion to the advertisement or the fact that plaintiff's attorney advertises. This includes slogans, jingles, or reference to the yellow pages, television or any media. The issue of how attorneys obtain business should not become an issue in the case. The fact that plaintiff's counsel advertises to obtain clients is no more relevant that the practice by defense attorneys to join exclusive organizations in which to wine and dine insurance adjusters and corporate clients for business, in order to obtain business.


FINANCIAL STATUS OF ATTORNEY OR MEDICAL PROVIDER. Any reference or suggestion to the income or financial status of the plaintiff’s attorney or the treating physicians. The issue of the wealth or income of the attorneys or treating physicians should not become an issue in the case. On at least one occasion, defense counsel has argued in other cases that plaintiff's attorneys advertised and stated to jury "how do you think these attorneys and these doctors can afford such expensive advertisement and have nice offices".


AMERICAN TORT SYSTEM OR PLAINTIFF'S LAWYERS IN GENERAL. Any reference or suggestion or the introduction of any evidence by the defense counsel directly or indirectly attacking the American Court System or plaintiffs attorneys or recent tort reform campaigns.
Neither the American tort system or plaintiffs attorneys in general are on trial in this case. The trial of this case should not be an opportunity for defense counsel to voice opinion regarding tort reform. The injuries sustained by the plaintiff are a result of the defendant’s negligence and the defense should not be permitted to ignore the issues in this case and attack the tort system in general.

The debate surrounding tort reform is irrelevant to this case and would serve only to inflame and prejudice the jury. These references would poison this case with anti-lawsuit and anti-lawyer bias, which has been highlighted in recent corporate, media campaign and emotional propaganda. The only thing to be gained in allowing defense counsel to discuss these issues would be a concealment of the truth. This subject applies to Trial only and not Voir Dire.


UNRELATED CLAIMS. Any reference or suggestion that Plaintiff has had unrelated, prior or subsequent claims, suits or settlements or the amounts thereof. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1 and §24-2-2; Goforth v. Wigley, 178 Ga. App. 558, 559-60 (1986). Further, no mention should be made concerning any injuries to the defendant(s), that they did not bring a claim or suit for.


UNRELATED ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES. Any reference or suggestion that Plaintiff has any other unrelated injuries, diseases, conditions, or illness, or the effects thereof, which are wholly disassociated from and do not relate to or serve as a "sole cause" defense to his/her present claims, and which Defendant cannot medically associate and relate to plaintiff's injuries for which compensatory damages are claimed in this case. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1 and §24-2-2; Goforth v. Wigley, 1788 Ga. App. 558, 559-60 (1986); United Motor Freight Terminal Company Inc. v. Hixon, 76 Ga. App. 653, 655 (1948); Barnes v. Cornett, 134 Ga. App. 120, 122 (1975). Further, No mention should be made about the plaintiffs having previously filed claims or lawsuits.

Hope these help, more on the way shortly.