MinnesotaBarwebsite-ebook-460x90-LawPay

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.


Sixth Judicial District Judges


Harris, Dale

District Court Judge

Counties: St. Louis

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? No set time limit; ideally 15 minutes per party.
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? No set time limit; ideally no more than 30 minutes per party.
  • 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:
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: I will typically approve telephone motions in default situations only. Counsel should provide a direct phone number, and the court staff will place the call from the courtroom when the case is ready to be called.
  • Do you like to receive courtesy copies of motion papers? No
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? Usually two weeks prior to trial.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of pretrial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the time of pretrial.
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of pretrial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of pretrial.
  • 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 follow the pretrial format in the Minnesota Civil Trial book (Part H of the Rules of Practice for the District Courts).
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Usually allowed if mutually agreed upon by Counsel.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Usually allowed if mutually agreed upon by Counsel and no earlier continuances.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date?
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? No
    If yes, please explain:
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Sit unless using an exhibit, etc.
  • 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 p.m. or logical stop point
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30-5:00 p.m., logical stop point
  • 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: If short, sidebar; if long, excuse jury and argue in courtroom.
  • 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? Before the 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 would consider for any ethics violation, but especially lying to the Court or opposing Counsel; deliberate dilatory tactics; lack of civility in the courtroom.

Judicial Districts