Forthcoming 2019: Meta-Evidence and Preliminary Injunctions

Forthcoming 2019

Forthcoming 2019 is a section from the Everyday Evidence Legal Blog that highlights recent papers from attorneys and professors from across the legal spectrum. These recent and soon-to-be publications offer readers a chance to see a wide range of issues from different legal fields.


Today’s Forthcoming 2019 features:


Meta-Evidence and Preliminary Injunctions

(10 UC IRVINE LAW REVIEW (forthcoming 2020))

Maggie Wittlin


Abstract

From SSRN:

"The decision to issue a preliminary injunction is enormously consequential; it has been likened to “judgment and execution before trial.” Yet, courts regularly say that our primary tool for promoting truthseeking at trial—the Federal Rules of Evidence—does not apply at preliminary injunction hearings. Judges frequently consider inadmissible evidence to make what may be the most important ruling in the case. This Article is the first to critically examine this widespread evidentiary practice.

In critiquing courts’ justifications for abandoning the Rules in the preliminary injunction context, the Article introduces a new concept: “meta-evidence.” Meta-evidence is evidence of what evidence will be presented at trial. I demonstrate that much evidence introduced at the preliminary injunction stage is, in fact, meta-evidence. And I show why meta-evidence that initially appears inadmissible under the Rules is often, in fact, admissible. Applying the Rules, then, would not exclude nearly as much evidence as courts may have assumed.

I offer two proposals for how courts should use the Rules at the preliminary injunction phase. More ambitiously, I suggest courts should apply the Rules, with an exception directly tailored to the dangers of limiting admissible evidence when the parties are under time pressure. Alternatively, I suggest that courts simply recognize when evidence is actually meta-evidence and weigh it appropriately. They should acknowledge that meta-evidence is probative only to the extent it tends to show the proponent will produce admissible evidence at trial."





The article can be found here. ( Wittlin, Maggie, Meta-Evidence and Preliminary Injunctions (March 20, 2019). 10 UC Irvine Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3356215 )

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