Massachusetts litigants may file a motion in limine at anytime prior trial. The purpose of such a motion is to prevent the opposing side from presenting evidence at trial that is unfairly prejudicial or otherwise objectionable.
The authority for filing a motion in limine is found in the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence (Mass. G. Evid.) Section 103(f) which reads:
Where [an evidentiary] issue can reasonably be anticipated, a motion in limine should be filed prior to trial.Mass. G. Evid., Section 103(f)
So what type of evidence might a lawyer seek to exclude in a motion in limine? Here are a few examples.
Typically, evidence that is irrelevant, unfairly prejudicial, or simply superfluous may be precluded from trial if the judge deems it appropriate. According to Mass. G. Evid. Section 403:
The court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.Mass. G. Evid. Section 403
Although either party may file a motion in limine at anytime prior to trial, judge will often delay ruling on the motion until the actual trial date is imminent.