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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.


Sixth Judicial District Judges


Cuzzo, Michael

District Court Judge

Counties: Lake

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? As long as reasonably necessary, and so long as attorneys are not repetitive.
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? As long as reasonably necessary, and so long as attorneys are not repetitive. 
  • 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
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Be concise and to the point in your writing. Be on time. Assume I have read all materials, unless I state otherwise at the beginning of the hearing. Its OK to highlight important part of written materials, but don't simply repeat written information when arguing.
  • 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? 2 weeks before trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? One week before pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? One week before pretrial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? One week before pretrial before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? One week before 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: Bring clients with so settlement discussions have some prospect of being productive. File the above referenced materials one week before pretrial, NOT the day of pretrial.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Parties should first confer to see if agreement can be reached regarding proposed changes. If agreed, file joint request. If no agreement, request a telephone Scheduling Conference.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Parties should first confer to see if agreement can be reached regarding proposed changes. If agreed, file joint request. If no agreement, request a telephone Scheduling Conference.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? Agreement by parties. Otherwise, under extreme circumstances justifying requested continuance.
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: Don't repeat questions already asked by the court or opposing counsel.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Either is acceptable.
  • 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? As long as is necessary
  • I normally start jury trials at: 8:30 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: noon 
  • I normally give the jury a break of -- minutes in the afternoon. Varies depending upon other court business
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 p.m. but varies depending upon other court business
  • 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: Depends upon circumstances
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? Yes
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? I generally ask attorneys what they anticipate regarding the length of their arguments, and then discuss if it seems inappropriate.
  • When do you instruct the jury? Before closing
  • 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? Yes
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? Yes
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? Sanctions: I required an attorney to deposit money with Court Admin to be returned if his/her phone did not ring in the court room for the fifth time during a trial.
    Reporting: I would report if there is a clear violation of the Rules of PR.

Judicial Districts