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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


Moore, James

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 per side
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 15 minutes per side unless additional time is requested in advance
  • 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:
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: 
  • 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? 4 to 6 weeks before trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? 2 weeks before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 2 weeks before trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 2 weeks before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 2 weeks before trial
  • 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: In cases where both parties are represented I will usually start the pretrial with the parties in separate rooms and explore settlement first. If either party is self-represented, I will conduct the pretrial in the courtroom, on the record. If no settlement can be reached, I will discuss scheduling with the parties in the courtroom. I will try to give parties a trial date certain at the pretrial. If complicated or voluminous motions in limine are anticipated I will schedule a hearing on the motions prior to the trial date.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Changes in the scheduling order that do not change the trial date can be submitted by stipulation. I may request a telephone conference before granting the change if it presents issues for the court.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Trial dates will only be continued for good cause. I require a phone conference (at least) before changing a trial date.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? It is impossible to anticipate every circumstance that might support a change of trial date, but medical or family emergencies will generally suffice.
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: Voir dire should be conducted in a fashion that elicits information from the potential jurors and does not argue facts or law or otherwise impart information to them. I have a handout for attorneys on this topic that I provide before trial. A copy is available by contacting my staff. 
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? No preference
  • 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? No
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? 
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 p.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes 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: I will generally allow counsel to approach. If I deny the request, I will offer counsel an opportunity to make a record at the next break.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit?
  • When do you instruct the jury? After closing arguments
  • 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?

Judicial Districts