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Civil Litigation Section

Judges' Courtroom Preferences

In Minnesota, there are currently 293 district court judges who preside over matters in ten judicial districts. While the Minnesota Rules of Court provide attorneys with significant information applicable to court proceedings, each judge may have his or her individual preferences with respect to motion practice and courtroom conduct.

In an effort to assist attorneys who may be appearing before a judge for the first time, the MSBA Civil Litigation Section Governing Council provided all district court judges with a brief questionnaire. The responses that we received are organized here by judicial district and the judge’s name. We hope you find these responses to be helpful in your preparation for district court appearances.

For information about this project or to report an error in any judicial directory listing, contact Jennifer Carter, MSBA staff liaison to the Civil Litigation Section.

First Judicial District Judges

Lynch, Edward

Senior District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? I only restrict argument time when the need to hear other matters requires it. Generally, any argument of this type over 10 minutes is too long
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? I only restrict argument time when the need to hear other matters requires it. Generally any argument of this type over 20 minutes is too long.
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? Yes
  • Do you regularly conduct hearings and motions by phone? No
    If yes, please describe the procedure you would like attorneys to use to do so, including how testimony is to be transcribed and who puts the teleconference together: I do not regularly conduct hearings by phone, but I am not opposed to it if all the parties agree. I prefer that the parties agree that the hearing need not be reported and I prefer that the moving party arrange the teleconference.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: They should assume that I am familiar with the written submissions and should focus their comments on their main argument.
  • Do you like to receive courtesy copies of motion papers? Yes
Discovery Disputes
  • Do you require counsel to "meet and confer" before bringing discovery disputes to a hearing? [No Answer Entered]
  • Will you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during the course of a deposition? [No Answer Entered]
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? Because of our assignment system, scheduling orders are issued by court administration.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? If I am blocked to a case, motions in limine and jury instructions are preferred at the pretrial. Often, however, I defer ruling on motions in limine until the trial because the ruling frequently depends on what happens at trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? If I am blocked to a case, verdict forms at pretrial are preferred. Otherwise verdict forms the first day of trial are acceptable.
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Usually the exchange of witnesses and exhibits etc is addressed in the scheduling order.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? See answer to 18.
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? Yes
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: I do not have any specific procedures.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • For changes on the date of trial: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? [No Answer Entered]
Civil Jury Trials
  • Do you perform preliminary voir dire? Yes
  • Do you place a time limit on voir dire by counsel? No
  • Is there subject matter you will not permit counsel to ask of the jury? Yes
    If yes, please explain: I assume counsel will ask only appropriate questions. I normally will not interject without an objection from another party, but I reserve to interject if I believe counsel is overreaching.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Don't care, they can do either
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? Yes
  • Do you normally require counsel to meet each morning with the court before the jury comes into the courtroom? Yes
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? I usually ask counsel to be present at least 15 minutes before court commences so any issues can be addressed.
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m. in the morning and 1:30 p.m in the afternoon, but am flexible to accommodate counsel or witnesses.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 to 20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 Noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 to 20 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: Yes
    Keep notes during deliberation? Yes
    Ask the witnesses questions? No
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? I have not placed time limits in the past. I normally ask counsel how long they anticipate their arguments and if too long, I would restrict them.
  • When do you instruct the jury? Before argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? Yes
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? No
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? [No Answer Entered]
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? [No Answer Entered]
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? No
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? I cannot recall ever sanctioning counsel, but I may have imposed a fine on one or two occasions. I have however required counsel to pay attorneys fees incurred by the other party for conduct that resulted in delay or additional expense.

Judicial Districts