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CALIFORNIA MOTIONS IN LIMINE - OK TO COMBINE TYPES OF MOTIONS?

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Let me start out by saying I HATE being in the position of having to defend myself in pro per against a Junk Debt Buyer in Los Angeles County.  I find the whole process stressful and frustrating and would love to hide my head in the sand until it all goes away.  It's tough trying to learn on the fly and prepare the best defense possible (although boards such as CI are amazing!), etc.

 

However, now that I've made my official moan and groan, I do realize that my best defense lies in preparing myself for a long haul, in anticipating and preparing for each step of the process BEFORE the issue becomes urgent.  

 

Even though I have not even had a trial date scheduled (CMR coming up in about 2 months), and I am still in the process of propounding discovery on the Plaintiff, and I anticipate trying the 'ol Motion to Dismiss I need to also focus on what I believe will be my fall-back before trial...  Motion(s) in limine!

 

I've been researching how to prepare a proper Motion in limine and have found some good information already.  For example, I have found that some of the common types of motions in limine have included:

 

- Evidence that consumes unnecessary time or duplicative testimony or evidence

 

- Evidence that creates a substantial danger of undue prejudice

 

- Evidence that confuses the issues or is misleading when weighed against the probative value of the challenged evidence

 

- Evidence that lacks foundation

 

- Inadmissible business records or other writings relied upon by a witness

 

- Evidence that raises authenticity issues

 

- Evidence that would be barred by the discovery rules

 

- Exclusion of experts not disclosed in response to a CCP 2034.10 demand

 

- Exclusion of witnesses not listed in the witness list

 

- Exclusion of expert opinions based on speculation

 

- Limiting expert opinion to those opinions provided in deposition testimony

 

- Opinions from lay witnesses

 

- Limiting witnesses to only those identified in discovery

 

 

There are many items in the above list that I strongly believe I could lay a foundation.  I want to throw a wide net over the foundations to exclude...  if it works, then without the evidence then it subsequently leads to the logical dismissal (hopefully with prejudice).

 

---------------------

 

What I have not found is an answer to my questions (remembering that this applies to Los Angeles County Superior Court): 

 

Can I combine several of these types/basis issues into a single motion?

 

If not, why not?

 

If so, how would I go about structuring the Motion/Title, etc?

 

Any other input?

 

 

Thank you all in advance for your assistance in this matter!  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

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I think the lay witness will work, the business records definetly, inadmissible evidence , foundation, the prejudice will work. There is no real statute governing motion in limine so I would think combining them would be a good use of judicial resources. But you have to check the local rules and see how the court requires them. 

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Thank you Seadragon for your input.

 

Maybe I should also be more specific as relates to my case...<br />

I have received what I believe to be faulty documents in response to a Bill of Particulars I served.

 I received a illegible, page numbers non-existent (impossible to tell if all pages from same document), improperly dated (subsequent to the actual commencement of the account) terms and conditions agreement.

I received two (2) "Bill of Sale(s)" which of course do not provide any PII and reference account schedules that were not included, have dubious signatures, etc

- I received partial account statements (for Account B)*

*IMPORTANT NOTE HERE:

The validation letter sent to me by the Plaintiff had Account A (NOT MINE!),

The Complaint for Money was unverified and referenced NO ORIGINAL CREDITOR by name/address and NO ORIGINAL ACCOUNT # (or any account # for that matter).

And finally in the response I sent back to the Plaintiff in response to their Discovery I objected to their use of Account B (which was mine) and did not provide any responsive information while correctly objecting and making other responses as applicable.

 

The Plaintiff sent M&C letter admitting their mistake and the Account A they used when validating the debt was indeed not mine, but belonged to another defendant and that the Account B they referenced in the Discovery they propounded on me was correct. 

I'd like to focus on getting all of these responses to my Bill of Particulars excluded and think I might have foundation for this in various examples I stated above, as you pointed out; business records, inadmissible evidence, foundation, etc.; But do I have to prepare a motion for each document, i.e.; Bill of Sale (A), Bill of Sale (B), Statements = 3 Motions? Or combine them into 1 Motion using the multiple reasons?

Again - much thanks for the quick response</p>

-----------
Forgot to add...

I am of the opinion that it would serve me better to do the Motion in limine vs. a Motion to Compel.  The strategy of getting the items excluded right off vs. giving the Plaintiff time to pull together more items to supplement his response.

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....having problems editing my 2nd post (so sorry).  Face = "B"

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I've been getting recent input from "another site" in which some of the lawyers are saying that typically each piece of challenged evidence would get its own motion and within each motion I can argue multiple reasons why it should be precluded.

If this is indeed the case, then it appears I WOULD need a Motion for EACH Bill of Sale and a Motion for the Statements = 3 Motions.  

Too bad - more work, but want to make sure I prep it properly ahead of time and not get the motion(s) denied.

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I think you can do all the motions that you want in one motion. I would say that if you are going to make it a lot of items that you are bringing up you might break it up. Calawyer could answer better on that but he has said that you can combine motions in to one Limine.

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Let me start out by saying I HATE being in the position of having to defend myself in pro per against a Junk Debt Buyer in Los Angeles County.  I find the whole process stressful and frustrating and would love to hide my head in the sand until it all goes away.  It's tough trying to learn on the fly and prepare the best defense possible (although boards such as CI are amazing!), etc.

I have heard on this site that some of the LA courts are tough of defendants. So just make sure you do all procedures correct and if at all possible get a court reporter (at least for trial) Just inquiring about a reporter is helpful if you are in a corrupt court (which you probably are not in) The court can be pro bottom feeder and still not be corrupt.

 

However, now that I've made my official moan and groan, I do realize that my best defense lies in preparing myself for a long haul, in anticipating and preparing for each step of the process BEFORE the issue becomes urgent.

That is THE correct way to handle it.  

 

Even though I have not even had a trial date scheduled (CMR coming up in about 2 months), and I am still in the process of propounding discovery on the Plaintiff, and I anticipate trying the 'ol Motion to Dismiss I need to also focus on what I believe will be my fall-back before trial...  Motion(s) in limine!

You are probably past the motion to dismiss stage which is mostly done in the answer stage of litigation, you are now on the discovery stage, then pretrial,then trial. Motion to dismiss is mostly (not always) for procedure errors at the begining (answering stage of the lawsuit). You may (at some time) instead move for the motion for summary judgement (in my opinion)I think a motion to dismiss may just get tossed since you answered the complaint & are in discovery. Especially how some of the CA courts are.

 

I've been researching how to prepare a proper Motion in limine and have found some good information already.  For example, I have found that some of the common types of motions in limine have included:

 

 In your case your motions in limine are going to focus on why the evidence they provided to you in discovery needs to be excluded from evidence. And why any evidence that was not (and should have) been provided to you in discovery should be precluded. I believe by focusing on just a few of MIL examplesyou listed and filtering the evidence you receive thru the rules of evidence and then concentrate your efforts to drafting effective MIL's on these examples will be easier on you and more likely for the case to get dismissed (by the bottom feeder or the judge)

 

- Evidence that lacks foundation

 

- Inadmissible business records or other writings relied upon by a witness

 

- Evidence that raises authenticity issues

I would also add in the defendants prayer on the motion in limine that defendant request a dismissal with prejudice (that will cover you as far as a motion to dismiss)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many items in the above list that I strongly believe I could lay a foundation.  I want to throw a wide net over the foundations to exclude...  if it works, then without the evidence then it subsequently leads to the logical dismissal (hopefully with prejudice).

 

Once evidence has been provide and admitted or excluded and then a case gets dismissed it will be with prejudice, if you hear a ruling being made where it is not them you can motion the court to dismiss with prejudice. If you are in trial you can still motion verbally.

 

What I have not found is an answer to my questions (remembering that this applies to Los Angeles County Superior Court): 

 

Can I combine several of these types/basis issues into a single motion?

 

Don't do that.

If not, why not?

It will be easier for 2-3 motions to get denied at once, and I would think that it will be harder on the judge to review and rule.

 

If so, how would I go about structuring the Motion/Title, etc?

 

It depends on what you are doing " Defendant's motion to exclude cc statements from evidence" " Defendant's motion to preclude evedince". See if you can find some cases in your courts files and look at the motions (it does not have to be a debt case, but if it is you can see the arguments and case law they used (but make sure they were successful) Also the MIL is drafted like other motions but you just keep it as short as possible.

Any other input?

A lot of times when you see peoples motions they contain about 90% more writing than neccessary. Keep it simple, relevent, and in plain english were it reads well. Also when you draft a motion put a number and then a paragraph containg a fact and usefull information:

(1) fact, relevent, usefull information, blah blah blah

(2) New fact, relevent usefull info, blah blah blah

(3) " "

That will keep your motions short and relevent, if it does not have a number and a fact, most of the time it probably does not need to be there.

Just muy opinion.

I just though of this: see if a Bill Of Particulars fits your case. You may send them one as well just to add more pressure on them, and its easy

 

Thank you all in advance for your assistance in this matter!  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Other grounds to exclude: Hearsay, not meeting the exception to the heasay rule, incomplete (see rule of completensess)

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I think you can do all the motions that you want in one motion. I would say that if you are going to make it a lot of items that you are bringing up you might break it up. Calawyer could answer better on that but he has said that you can combine motions in to one Limine.

I would love it if Calawyer could address the matter of combining...  And thank you for your input as well! 

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I think you CAN combine the MIL's (and if calawyer say's you can I would not question that)I just think you would be better off if you had seperate MIL's

MIL #1. EXCLUDE CC STATEMENTS

MIL#2 EXCLUDE BILL OF SALE

MIL#3 EXCLUDE LOAN SCHEDULE

MIL#4 EXCLUDE AFFIDAVIT

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Thank you Seadragon for your input.

 

Maybe I should also be more specific as relates to my case...<br />

I have received what I believe to be faulty documents in response to a Bill of Particulars I served.

 I received a illegible, page numbers non-existent (impossible to tell if all pages from same document), improperly dated (subsequent to the actual commencement of the account) terms and conditions agreement.

I received two (2) "Bill of Sale(s)" which of course do not provide any PII and reference account schedules that were not included, have dubious signatures, etc

- I received partial account statements (for Account B)*

*IMPORTANT NOTE HERE:

The validation letter sent to me by the Plaintiff had Account A (NOT MINE!),

The Complaint for Money was unverified and referenced NO ORIGINAL CREDITOR by name/address and NO ORIGINAL ACCOUNT # (or any account # for that matter).

And finally in the response I sent back to the Plaintiff in response to their Discovery I objected to their use of Account B (which was mine) and did not provide any responsive information while correctly objecting and making other responses as applicable.

 

The Plaintiff sent M&C letter admitting their mistake and the Account A they used when validating the debt was indeed not mine, but belonged to another defendant and that the Account B they referenced in the Discovery they propounded on me was correct. 

I'd like to focus on getting all of these responses to my Bill of Particulars excluded and think I might have foundation for this in various examples I stated above, as you pointed out; business records, inadmissible evidence, foundation, etc.; But do I have to prepare a motion for each document, i.e.; Bill of Sale (A), Bill of Sale ( B), Statements = 3 Motions? Or combine them into 1 Motion using the multiple reasons?

Again - much thanks for the quick response</p>

-----------

Forgot to add...

I am of the opinion that it would serve me better to do the Motion in limine vs. a Motion to Compel.  The strategy of getting the items excluded right off vs. giving the Plaintiff time to pull together more items to supplement his response.

Unfortunately, they did respond so you cannot use the Motion to compel. The judge will say whether they send admissible or inadmissible evidence they have the right to use whatever they have to responf to BOP. Even if it is inadmissible they have shown their cards. They are further only allowed to use those documents.

 

The stuff they sent was crap and you will have to get it excluded by the best means. Submit some devestating discover and play with them a little.

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I've been getting recent input from "another site" in which some of the lawyers are saying that typically each piece of challenged evidence would get its own motion and within each motion I can argue multiple reasons why it should be precluded.

If this is indeed the case, then it appears I WOULD need a Motion for EACH Bill of Sale and a Motion for the Statements = 3 Motions.  

Too bad - more work, but want to make sure I prep it properly ahead of time and not get the motion(s) denied.

I would check the local rules and see and if all else fails call the clerk she/he would know what the court likes.

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I would check the local rules and see and if all else fails call the clerk she/he would know what the court likes.

That's a very good idea - I'll be filing my CMR soon so I'll make it a face to face talk with the clerk before they start up for the day.

 

I wasn't able to find a specific answer in the local rules as to combining or separate MILs...

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Unfortunately, they did respond so you cannot use the Motion to compel. The judge will say whether they send admissible or inadmissible evidence they have the right to use whatever they have to responf to BOP. Even if it is inadmissible they have shown their cards. They are further only allowed to use those documents.

 

The stuff they sent was crap and you will have to get it excluded by the best means. Submit some devestating discover and play with them a little.

...Let me ask another question based on your comments here - I am almost done with my discovery (which I believe I've done a vg job on - LOL at least in my own mind).  

Doesn't the discovery I propound on the Plaintiff reopen the door for the Plaintiff to provide further documentation that wasn't provided in the BofP?  And if so, wouldn't that be the back door the Plaintiff would need to "add" to (which I really don't want).  So in other words, how can the Plaintiff be limited to the docs sent in response to the BofP when I've asked them for additional docs in my discovery propounded on him?  I see my Discovery as a double-edge blade here.  However I really can't ignore some of the devastating Admissions I've got, and with the attachment of the exhibits where he must acknowledge his own statements, I've painted him into a corner with the fact that he failed to do a proper validation, etc.

And yes there is that "play with them a little" - LOL :-) !!!  The more that he has to spin his wheels and sweat it out and wonder/worry makes me a very happy camper.

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I think you CAN combine the MIL's (and if calawyer say's you can I would not question that)I just think you would be better off if you had seperate MIL's

MIL #1. EXCLUDE CC STATEMENTS

MIL#2 EXCLUDE BILL OF SALE

MIL#3 EXCLUDE LOAN SCHEDULE

MIL#4 EXCLUDE AFFIDAVIT

Yes it is something I need to do further consideration of - and again would love to have Calawyer drop in for some input on this issue.

FYI...  There is NO AFFIDAVIT!!!! (which frankly amazed me).  The Plaintiff sent, as Seadragon so eloquently said, "crap".  

I believe that the Plaintiff realized he screwed up with the validation letter (giving me the wrong account #) and that is why he left off not only any reference to the original creditor but also left off any mention of any account # in the actual complaint!  And of course it was an unverified complaint with 3 causes; breach of contract, money lent and account stated.

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...Let me ask another question based on your comments here - I am almost done with my discovery (which I believe I've done a vg job on - LOL at least in my own mind).  

Doesn't the discovery I propound on the Plaintiff reopen the door for the Plaintiff to provide further documentation that wasn't provided in the BofP?  And if so, wouldn't that be the back door the Plaintiff would need to "add" to (which I really don't want).  So in other words, how can the Plaintiff be limited to the docs sent in response to the BofP when I've asked them for additional docs in my discovery propounded on him?  I see my Discovery as a double-edge blade here.  However I really can't ignore some of the devastating Admissions I've got, and with the attachment of the exhibits where he must acknowledge his own statements, I've painted him into a corner with the fact that he failed to do a proper validation, etc.

And yes there is that "play with them a little" - LOL :) !!!  The more that he has to spin his wheels and sweat it out and wonder/worry makes me a very happy camper.

What has occured is you allowed them to get off the hook for motion to exclude as regards to the BoP. I believe LA County has a local rule about motions in limine. I put mine in my trial brief and they had the hearing right before trial. So unless you see somewhere that they have to be seperate I would think that you could combine them.

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:-( Too bad about my letting the Motion to Exclude fall through the cracks. Learn from my mistakes. Well, time to go forward and not worry about what I should have done, or could have done...

As to Local Rules - this is what I found - and it does not seem to address the issue directly. As such, it appears that I would be able to combine them IF I followed the rules.

LASC LOCAL RULES effective July 1, 2011

3.57 MOTIONS IN LIMINE

(a) Required Declaration. Motions made for the purpose of precluding the mention or display of inadmissible and prejudicial matter in the presence of the jury must be accompanied by a declaration that includes the following:

(1) Specific identification of the matter alleged to be inadmissible and prejudicial;

(2) A representation to the court that the subject of the motion has been discussed with opposing counsel, and that opposing counsel has either indicated that such matter will be mentioned or displayed in the presence of the jury before it is admitted in evidence or that counsel has refused to stipulate that such matter will not be mentioned or displayed in the presence of the jury unless and until it is admitted in evidence;

(3) A statement of the specific prejudice that will be suffered by the moving party if the motion is not granted; and

(4) If the motion seeks to make binding an answer given in response to discovery, the declaration must set forth the question and the answer and state why the use of the answer for impeachment will not adequately protect the moving party against prejudice in the event that evidence inconsistent with the answer is offered.

(B) Summary Adjudication Improper. A motion in limine may not be used for the purpose of seeking summary judgment or the summary adjudication of an issue or issues. Those motions may only be made in compliance with Code of Civil Procedure section 437c and applicable court rules.

© Bifurcation of Issues Improper. A motion in limine may not be used for the purpose of

seeking an order to try an issue before the trial of another issue or issues. That motion may only be made in compliance with Code of Civil Procedure section 598.

(d) Timing of Ruling. The court may defer ruling upon a motion in limine, and may order

that no mention or display of the matter that is the subject of the motion be made in the presence of the jury unless and until the court orders otherwise. If the court so orders, or if the motion is granted, it is the duty of counsel to instruct associates, clients, witnesses, and other persons under their control that no mention or display be made in the presence of the jury of the matter that is the subject of the motion.

(Rule 3.57 new and effective July 1, 2011)

Of note: Not real happy with 3.57(a)(2) - Really kind of spoils the "surprise" element of filing the MiL! What is the opinion of this board about the word "discussed"?! Do you think written communication properly certified return receipt would cover this? I could see sending out a letter and giving the Plaintiff 5 days for a response before I filed - that might work.

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^ I'm so sorry once again - still having computer problems that are stopping me from correcting/editing post that shows characters where I did not place them.

Should be:

 

(b ) Summary Adjudication

(c ) Bifurcation

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RELATED OFFSHOOT QUESTION:  

 

Should I consider trying to get the issue of legal standing bifurcated?  If so, when and how would I go about this?  Or should I just wait to go the course on the discovery to serve on the Plaintiff (planned for next week)?

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...Let me ask another question based on your comments here - I am almost done with my discovery (which I believe I've done a vg job on - LOL at least in my own mind).  

Doesn't the discovery I propound on the Plaintiff reopen the door for the Plaintiff to provide further documentation that wasn't provided in the BofP?  And if so, wouldn't that be the back door the Plaintiff would need to "add" to (which I really don't want).  So in other words, how can the Plaintiff be limited to the docs sent in response to the BofP when I've asked them for additional docs in my discovery propounded on him?  I see my Discovery as a double-edge blade here.  However I really can't ignore some of the devastating Admissions I've got, and with the attachment of the exhibits where he must acknowledge his own statements, I've painted him into a corner with the fact that he failed to do a proper validation, etc.

And yes there is that "play with them a little" - LOL :) !!!  The more that he has to spin his wheels and sweat it out and wonder/worry makes me a very happy camper.

Because the court has the discretion they can say you waived the benefits of BOP by conducting discovery. Now if they sent the stuff un biden then that is different, then you would not have waived but they did supply a response. It is best to do it sooner than later.

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Either way after you have sent a bop and discovery, you have made every reasonable effort to get the evidence, and whatever you have not received by 30 days prior to trial should be precluded because otherwise you will be prejudiced from preparing for trial. I think they always produce the same things, only the names and numbers change, Its just a matter as to when you will actually receive it.

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^ I'm so sorry once again - still having computer problems that are stopping me from correcting/editing post that shows characters where I did not place them.

Should be:

 

(b ) Summary Adjudication

(c ) Bifurcation

You can change the emoticons box in the post section to eliminate the smileys but we all know what you mean so no worries.

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