On September 1, 2020, New Jersey adopted a brand-new rule of procedure, Rule 4:25-8, which properly defines motions in limine. On its face, the new rule prohibits, broadly, filing motions in limine that may have a dispositive effect on the case. Most notably, the rule expressly eliminates the ability to move, on motion in limine, to bar expert testimony in matters in which such experts are required to sustain a party’s burden of proof. This effectively makes the summary judgment phase of litigation the last chance to bar experts from a jury trial or take any other dispositive action
The new rule comes at a time in which the evidentiary standard for experts is shifting in New Jersey. In October 2018, the New Jersey Supreme Court reconciled the framework for analyzing the reliability of expert testimony under N.J.R.E. 702 and 703 in In re: Accutane Litigation. Significantly, New Jersey, a traditional Frye jurisdiction, incorporated certain federal Daubert factors for expert “use by our courts” but, overall, fell short of adopting the Daubert standard as a whole. In applying the relevant Daubert factors, the trial court in Accutane held that the subject experts’ methodologies were unsound due to the failure to apply fundamentals of the scientific method of the medical-evidence hierarchy. The decision resulted in the dismissal of over 3,000 claims.