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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


Maas, Ellen Louise

District Court Judge

Counties: Washington

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? It varies. Depending upon the quality of the written submissions, my hearings have ranged from 10 to 40 minutes.
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? Again, this depends upon the complexity of the case, the number of parties/Counsel and the quality of writing. 30 minutes to two days.
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? No
  • 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: If Counsel and the parties stipulate, I have convened hearings via conference call. My court reporter records the hearing, if requested. One attorney is designated as the "lead" counsel for purposes of assuming complete responsibility for arranging the conference call.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Confirm before the hearing that all written submissions were indeed filed and in the Court's file. With the budget constraints and attendant staff shortages, Counsels' submission frequently are not in the file by the time of the hearing. I would encourage Counsel to confirm with the judge's law clerk whether the judge would appreciate receiving a courtesy copy of any written motion papers. I always appreciate receiving courtesy copies.
  • 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? That is established through Washington County Court Administration. I encourage parties to submit stipulated pre-trial orders, after securing a trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? That is usually spelled out in the pre-trial order. Typically, 20 - 30 days before the scheduled trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? That should be filed along with the proposed jury instructions
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Unless otherwise stipulated, 20 - 30 days before the trial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Unless otherwise stipulated, 20 - 30 days before the 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: Come with settlement authority and be prepared to discuss settlement.
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? 1.Counsel or party unavailability with advance notice and detailed request in writing. 2. Discovery misconduct.3.Some stipulations.
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: It depends upon the case. This is usually discussed before voir dire and stipulated by counsel or decided by the court.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Don't care, they can do either
  • 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? Only if requested the night before or if something comes up at the last minute.
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15-20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: As close to 12:00 noon as possible.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 - 20 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 -5:00 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: [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? Before 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? Yes
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? Yes
  • 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