Purpose of a Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence
In order to avoid prejudicial or irrelevant evidence from being introduced to the jury by the adverse party, a party will file a motion in limine to exclude this evidence. “Generally, the purpose of a motion in limine is to prevent the introduction of improper evidence, the mere mention of which at trial would be prejudicial.” Buy-Low Save Centers, Inc. v. Glinert, 547 So.2d 1283, 1284 (Fla. 4th DCA 1989). Stated differently: “The purpose of a motion in limine is to exclude irrelevant and immaterial matters, or to exclude evidence when its probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.” Devoe v. Western Auto Supply Co., 537 So.2d 188, 189 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989) (internal citation omitted).
There are times the basis of an appeal stems from the trial court granting or denying a motion in limine. If a trial court grants a motion in limine, this means the trial court is excluding evidence a party otherwise wants to introduce. If a trial court denies a motion in limine, this means the trial court is allowing evidence to be introduced that an adverse party contends is irrelevant or prejudicial. “The standard of review of a trial court’s ruling on a motion in limine is abuse of discretion.” Aarmada Protection Systems 2000, Inc. v. Yandell, 73 So.3d 893, 898 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).
If a party violates a court’s order granting a motion in limine, the court could declare a mistrial and order a new trial. See Azriel v. La Marca, 722 So.2d 952 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998); Fischman, M.D. v. Suen, M.D., 672 So.2d 644 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996). For instance, if a trial court grants a motion in limine and excludes certain evidence or testimony, and the adverse party disregards the court’s order and introduces that evidence or testimony, the court could declare a mistrial and order a new trial upon the jury returning a verdict in favor of the adverse party.
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