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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.


Fourth Judicial District Judges


Klein, Joseph R.

District Court Judge

Counties: Hennepin

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 15 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 30-45 minutes
  • 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? Yes
    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, at times, conduct hearings and motions by phone. My preference is for the attorneys to coordinate some dates and times among them and to then contact my clerk to set the telephone conference on my calendar. If any teleconference technology is necessary my preference is for one or both of the attorneys to make the necessary arrangements. The moving party is to initiate the teleconference. All dispositive motions that are heard via teleconference are transcribed by my court reporter.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: It is my practice to read all submissions prior to the hearing. I will inform attorneys if I have NOT read the submissions. I may ask questions to guide the oral presentation. Attorneys are to stand at the podium when making their argument, and are to confine their statements/arguments to the court (they should not address their arguments to each other.
  • 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? Yes
  • Will you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during the course of a deposition? Yes
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? Unless specifically requested by the parties, the pretrial/settlement conference is normally set 30 days prior to trial.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? One week before trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? One week before trial.
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? One week before trial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? One week before trial; exhibits should be pre-marked at the time they are exchanged and filed. In addition, any stipulations/redactions should be finalized at the time that exhibits are exchanged.
  • 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: Nothing specific.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Such changes are not allowed without special written request or a motion to the court.
  • For changes on the date of trial: I rarely grant such changes.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? A request to continue the trial will only be entertained under extreme and unforeseen circumstances.
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: Counsel are not to argue their case through voir dire. I adhere to the fundamental belief that the purpose of voir dire is to examine the panel for indications as to each member's ability to be neutral, fair, and open-minded.
  • 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? 15-30
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 Noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 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? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? After 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
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • 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 am aware of the options to impose monetary or evidentiary sanctions and/or report attorneys to the Lawyers Board for unethical behavior. I will consider and may undertake these measures.

Judicial Districts