(From last year)
I 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.
FIRST MOTION IN LIMINE
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:
1.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.
2. 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.
3.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).
4.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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7.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".
8.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.
9.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.
10. 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.
11.FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANT. Any reference or suggestion that Defendant is uninsured as to Plaintiff's claims, including, but not limited to, any reference as to Defendant as a little person, or small or struggling, or any other such reference which would tend to convey to the jury the impression that Defendant is a party of modest means who cannot afford to pay a substantial judgment. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1; Adams v. Camp Harmony Association, 190 Ga. App. 506, 508, (1989); Denton v. Conway Express, Inc., 261 Ga. 41 (1991); Georgia Power Company v. Flagan, 261 Ga. 41 (1991); Northwestern University v. Crisp, 211 Ga. 636, 641 (1955); Brunswick & Western Railroad Co. v. Wiggins, 113 Ga. 842, 850 (1901); Higgins v. The Cherokee Railroad, 73 Ga., 149 (3) (1984); Bennett v. Haley, 132 Ga. App. 512, 525 (1974); See also Georgia State Bar Rules, DR 7-102(A)(3), (4) and (5); DR 7-106(C) (1); Rule 4-102(d) Standard 45 and O.C.G.A. § 9-10-185.
12.PAYMENT OF JUDGMENT. Any indication of any kind that Defendant driver personally will have to pay any judgment that may be entered in this case, especially since Defendant is insured against liability. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1; Adams v. Camp Harmony Association, 190 Ga. App. 506, 508 (1989); Denton v. Conway Express, Inc., 261 Ga. 41 (1991); Northwestern University v. Crisp, 211 Ga. 636, 641 (1955); Brunswick & Western Railroad Co. v. Wiggins, 113 Ga. 149 (3) (1884); Bennett v. Haley, 132 Ga. App. 512, 525 (1974). See also Georgia State Bar Rules, DR 7-102(A)(3), (4) and (5); DR 7-106(C) (1); Rule 4-102(d) Standard 45 and O.C.G.A. §9-10-185.
13.PLAINTIFF'S USE OF AWARD. Any reference or suggestion as to what Plaintiff will or might do with any award of damages Plaintiff might receive. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1 and §24-2-2; Gusky v. Candler General Hospital, 192 Ga. App. 521 (3) (1989). See also Hall v. Chicago & Northwestern Railway Co., 125 N.E.2d 77, 86 (Ill.1955); and Law note at 28 ATLA Law Reporter 101 (April 1985).
14.MONEY WILL NOT UNDO DAMAGE. Any reference or suggestion to the effect that "money won't undo the injury and damage the plaintiff may have sustained", because such a suggestion is an improper appeal for jury sympathy toward Defendant. and invites the jury to disregard it's duty to apply the legal measure of damages which the evidence shows have been caused by Defendant's misconduct and instead to base a verdict on improper considerations. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1; Gielow v. Strickland, 185 Ga. App. 85, 86 (1987) (jury cannot be urged to use some other measure of damages than that prescribed by law); Central of Georgia Railway v. Swindle, 260 Ga. 685, 687 (1990) (trial should not be invaded by improper considerations); Adams v. Camp Harmony Association, 190 Ga. App. 506, 508 (1989) (effect of verdict an improper consideration).
15.DEFENDANT IS “SORRY” OR “APOLOGIZES.” Any reference or suggestion that Defendant is sorry or regrets the occurrence in question, because such a suggestion is an improper appeal for jury sympathy toward Defendant, and invites the jury to disregard it's duty to apply the legal measure of damages by awarding such damages as the evidence shows have been caused by such defendant's misconduct and base a verdict on improper considerations. O.C.G.A. §24-2-1; Adams v. Camp Harmony Association, 190 Ga. App. 506, 508 (1989); Gielow v. Strickland, 185 Ga. App. 85, 86 (1987) (jury cannot be urged to use some other measure of damages than that prescribed by law); Central of Georgia Railway v. Swindle, 260 Ga. 685, 687 (1990) (trial should not be invaded by improper considerations).
16.TAXATION OF RECOVERY. Any reference or suggestion that any recovery by Plaintiff either would or would not be subject to federal or state income tax or any other form of taxation. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1. Also, that any recovery by Plaintiff would not be subject to federal income taxation or any other form of taxation. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Brown, 93 GA. App. 805, 807 (1956).
17.EMPLOYMENT OF COUNSEL/FEES. Any reference or suggestion regarding the time or circumstances under which Plaintiff employed any of her attorneys. O.C.G.A. §24-9-21(2). Any reference or suggestion regarding the existence of a contingent fee arrangement between Plaintiff and her counsel. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1; Stoner v. Eden, 199 Ga. App. 135 (1991).
18.FAILURE TO CALL EQUALLY AVAILABLE WITNESSES. Any reference or suggestion that Plaintiff has not called to testify any witness equally available to both parties in this case. See O.C.G.A. § 24-4-22; Bank of Emmanuel v. Smith, 32 Ga. App. 606 (1924); Bradford v. Parrish, 111 Ga. App. 167 (1965).
19.VOUCHING FOR DEFENSE WITNESSES. Any reference or suggestion as to whether or not Plaintiff or any of Plaintiff's witnesses believe that any of the defense witnesses are honorable or otherwise worthy of belief. O.C.G.A. §24-2-1.
20.PERSONAL BELIEF OF COUNSEL. Any reference or suggestion by defense counsel as to his or her personal belief concerning the credibility of any witnesses, or as to the merits of Plaintiff's claims, injuries, or damages. Manning v. State, 123 Ga. App. 844, 845-6 (6) (1971); Georgia State Bar Rules, DR 7-106 (C) (4); EC 7-24.
21.FUTURE INCOME, ETC. OF PLAINTIFF. Any reference or suggestion as to the future income or employment benefits of Plaintiff.
22.UNDISCLOSED PHOTOGRAPHS. Any reference or suggestion as to the existence or contents of any document, photograph, motion picture film or videotape which has not previously been disclosed in the pretrial order until the same has been tendered to the Court and Plaintiff's counsel, outside the presence of the jury, and shown or exhibited to determine its relevance and suitability for introduction into evidence. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-
23.EFFECT OF CLAIMS ON INSURANCE RATES. Any reference or suggestion regarding the effect or results of a claim, suit of judgment upon insurance rates, premiums, or charges, either generally or as particularly applied to Defendant in this case as a result of this or any other lawsuit or claim. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1 and §24-2-2.
24.EFFECT OF CLAIMS ON INDUSTRY. Any reference or suggestion that damage awards may drive up the price of products, put manufacturers out of business, or cause jobs to be lost. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1 and 24-2-2.
25.REQUESTS FOR PLAINTIFF'S FILE MATERIALS. Any demands or requests by defense counsel before the jury for matters found or contained in Plaintiff's or her counsel's files, which would include statements, pleadings, photographs, and other documents directed to the Plaintiff or Plaintiff's counsel during the course of the trial and in the presence of the jury.
26.REQUEST FOR INDEPENDENT OR COMPULSORY MEDICAL EXAMINATION DURING THE COURSE OF TRIAL. During the course of the trial, any demands or requests by Defendant or defense counsel for additional medical examination, physical demonstrations, or other similar requests directed to the Plaintiff or Plaintiff's counsel and in the presence of the jury. See O.C.G.A. § 24-2-1.
27.REQUESTS FOR PHYSICAL DEMONSTRATIONS. Any requests for Plaintiff or any of Plaintiff's witnesses to participate in or assist defense counsel with any physical or other demonstration. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1.
28.SUPERSEDED PLEADINGS. Any reference or suggestion as to the contents of any pleadings which have been superseded by the current pleadings or the pretrial order on file in this case.
29.EX PARTE STATEMENTS. Any reference or suggestion as to the contents of, or tender of any ex parte statement or report of any person not then and there present in the Court to testify and to be cross-examined by counsel for Plaintiff.
30.TESTIMONY OF UNAVAILABLE WITNESS. Any reference or suggestion as to the probable testimony of a witness available to Defendant who is not called to testify in this case.
31.NOTICE TO DEFENDANT OF SUIT. Any reference or suggestion that no notice of the claim was given to Defendant(s) until the suit was filed in this case, since none is required to be given.
32.SPECIAL EFFORTS REQUIRED BY JURY. Any reference or suggestion that the jury must extend special efforts to be fair and impartial to the defendant.
33.SEAT BELTS. Any reference or suggestion that Plaintiff may not have been wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision made the basis of this suit. O.C.G.A. §40-8-76.2.
34.PRIOR TRAFFIC RECORD. Any reference or suggestion as to any prior moving traffic violations or any prior automobile collisions that Plaintiff may have had in the past. See O.C.G.A. §24-2-1 and 24-2-2; Myers v. Barnard, 180 Ga. App. 192 (1986); Underwood v. Butler, 166 Ga. App 527, 529 (1983). See also Green, Georgia Law of Evidence, 3rd Ed., §§68, 70 and 71 (Harrison Co., 1991 Supp.).
35.CRIMES INVOLVING FIRST OFFENDER STATUS. Any reference or suggestion as to any crimes involving first offender status. O.C.G.A. § 42-8-65(a) obligates the clerk to ensure that such information is disclosed only to those persons authorized to receive it. Witcher v. Pender, 260 Ga. 248 June 8, 1990, held that the first offender record of an adverse witness in a civil case is not admissible for the purpose of impeaching the witness for a crime of moral turpitude. In Georgia, the rule is that a witness may be impeached by proof of a conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. Hall v. Hall, 261 Ga. 181 (402 S.E. 2d 726)(1991).
The use of the term moral turpitude has been "restricted to the gravest offenses consisting of felonies, infamous crimes and those that are malum in se and disclose a depraved mind", Lewis v. State, 243 Ga. 443, 444 (254 S.E. 2d 830)(1979). Under that definition it is apparent that a misdemeanor conviction for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, a conviction equivalent to a misdemeanor conviction for DUI. See Hall v. Hall supra, it is not a crime of moral turpitude. It does not suggest an "insensibility to the obligation of an oath". Lewis supra, at 446.