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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


Miller, Laurie

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 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 not generally hold evidentiary hearings by telephone; instead I use teleconferences for status conferences and occasionally for review hearings, both of which are common here in family court. My staff will initiate the teleconference.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: In family court, parties often have ongoing dialogues, such that the issues that remain by the time of a hearing may be different than they were at the time the moving papers were filed. I like attorneys to begin by stating any agreements that may have been reached and setting forth precisely what issues remain for the Court to decide.
  • 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? varies
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? No jury instructions are required in family court.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? No verdict forms are required in family court. Instead, I required proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment and Decree to be submitted two weeks following 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? The parties must exchange premarked exhibits two weeks before trial. Exhibit lists are to be filed with the Court one week before trial. Each party must advise the Court and opposing counsel of any objections to the admissibility of any exhibits one wee
  • 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: My standard pretrial order requires that no later than two business days before the pretrial conference, counsel are to meet in person, with the parties either present or available by telephone, for the purpose of: i. Stipulating to facts and matters not at issue; ii. Attempting to settle outstanding issues; and, iii. Preparing a list of disputed issues. If the case cannot be settled, counsel are to be prepared at the pretrial to: i. Identify witnesses that are expected to testify at trial and estimate the length of trial; ii. Discuss prospective proof regarding any property whose non-marital or marital character is disputed by the parties; iii. Discuss the prospective proof regarding any property whose valuation is disputed; iv. Schedule any motions that should be heard prior to trial; and, v. Discuss any unusual or disputed evidentiary or legal issues that are anticipated at trial. b. No later than 2 business days before the pretrial conference, counsel shall meet in person, with the parties either present or available by telephone, for the purpose of: i. Stipulating to facts and matters not at issue; ii. Attempting to settle outstanding issues; and, iii. Preparing a list of disputed issues. c. In the event the case cannot be settled, counsel shall be prepared to: i. Identify witnesses that are expected to testify at trial and estimate the length of trial; ii. Discuss prospective proof regarding any property whose non-marital or marital character is disputed by the parties; iii. Discuss the prospective proof regarding any property whose valuation is disputed; iv. Schedule any motions that should be heard prior to trial; and, v. Discuss any unusual or disputed evidentiary or legal issues that are anticipated at trial. The pretrial is also a useful time to revisit the progress of settlement negotiations; I have had a number of cases settle at the pretrial conference.
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: Such changes are not allowed without special written request or a motion to the court.
  • 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? [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you place a time limit on voir dire by counsel? [No Answer Entered]
  • Is there subject matter you will not permit counsel to ask of the jury? [No Answer Entered]
    If yes, please explain: [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you normally require counsel to meet each morning with the court before the jury comes into the courtroom? [No Answer Entered]
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally start jury trials at: [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally give the jury a break of [No Answer Entered] minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally give the jury a break of [No Answer Entered] minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: [No Answer Entered]
    Keep notes during deliberation? [No Answer Entered]
    Ask the witnesses questions? [No Answer Entered]
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? [No Answer Entered]
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? [No Answer Entered]
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? [No Answer Entered]
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? [No Answer Entered]
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? [No Answer Entered]
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? Yes
    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? [No Answer Entered]

Judicial Districts