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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.


Tenth Judicial District Judges


Hawley, Sheridan

District Court Judge

Counties: Sherburne

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
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? No set time limit
  • 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: [No Answer Entered]
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Be prepared. Talk with opposing counsel before the hearing to determine whether any agreements can be reached.  Identify remaining issues at the start of the hearing.
  • 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? No
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? It depends on the complexity of the case
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • 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? Two weeks before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Two weeks before trial
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? No
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: Try to resolve as many issues as possible prior to pre-trial.  I am willing to assist with settlement discussions at any time if the attorneys believe it would be helpful to their negotiations.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Must be in writing and must indicate whether opposing counsel agrees or disagrees with request.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Request in writing at least 30 days in advance.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? I'll consider a request under any circumstances and am more likely to grant the request if given time to fill the calendar with other matters.  The closer we are to trial, the less likely a continuance becomes.
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: Anything not relevant to jury selection for the specific case.  Questions that are designed to indoctrinate the jury rather than elicit information from jurors.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? No requirements
  • 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
  • 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: 12:00 noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 60 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 ask the jurors to stand and talk amongst themselves while we talk at the bench.
  • 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 closings
  • 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? Conduct by an attorney that compromises the litigant's ability to have fair access to the legal system warrants sanctions.  If I have concerns about an attorney's competence, I would consider a report to the LPRB.

Judicial Districts