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Members

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

Wilton, Christian S.

District Court Judge

Counties: Scott

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.). 952 496 8223
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? Debbie Peterson or Theresa Flahaven
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Debbie Peterson or Theresa Flahaven

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. These may be scheduled through my staff attorney
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. N/A
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? Yes
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings? As much time as needed
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. I generally do not allow appearances by telephone
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. parties may jointly submit stipulations for signature
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? unless agreed upon by both parties, a hearing is required
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  N/A

Written submissions:

  • Do you want to receive paper courtesy copies of the parties’ written submissions? If you do, set forth the number and preferred format of courtesy copies and identify any document type you do not want to receive. Yes - I find this very helpful.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  Can be done in a motion

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. I have a full technology courtroom with no preference for any particular format
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. The attorneys are expected to use the technology available and may have an opportunity prior to trial to become familiar with the technology we have
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. Simply seek permission
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues?  Yes

Pretrial procedures:

  • Describe your preferred procedures for pretrial settlement conferences, including the timing of such conferences, persons who must attend, whether persons may attend by telephone or video conference, and how you participate in settlement discussions. I expect all essential parties to be present to facilitate a resolution. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  Shoud be filed in writing and set for hearing

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? Start at 9:00 a.m. with one break in the morning. Generally recess around noon and begin again at 1:15 p.m. with an afternoon break. Will generally finish up around 4:30 p.m.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. I ask a number of questions and then allow the parties to engage in voir dire.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to courtroom decorum, including movement in the courtroom, use of a podium, whether attorneys should sit or stand, and how to address witnesses. I expect the lawyers to use the podium
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  I do not
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. The attorneys are expected to use the technology in the courtroom
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. Exhibit should be marked ahead of time
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. The attorneys should stand to object giving a one or two word objection or simply citing a rule of evidence. If a response is needed I will ask the other attorney to respond
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. Should be discussed ahead of time
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? Yes. Should be worked out with my court reporter well before trial
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  Case by case

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  I expect attorneys to be prepared and ready to try their case

Judicial Districts