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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.


Third Judicial District Judges


Leahy, Mary Carroll

District Court Judge

Counties: Winona

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.).  email law clerk 
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions?  scheduling clerk in court admin and my law clerk
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?   law clerk 

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. schedule through court administration
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing.  n/a
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions?  yes
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings? as much time as the attorneys say is required to fully argue the matter 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. get permission first from the court with a request through court administration
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. follow the rules of civil procedure and document attempt at resolution prior to arguing the motion
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. submit drafts of stipulation and Order with the terms of your protective order incorporated into the Order
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? try to resolve it first, submit an agreement and Order reflecting the agreement - otherwise file the necessary motion 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. follow the rules of civ. procedure and include documents that establish the basis for the default
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  contact court administration, law clerk and get permission to file them on an urgent basis

Written submissions:

  • Do you want to receive paper courtesy copies of the parties’ written submissions? If you do, set forth the number and preferred format of courtesy copies and identify any document type you do not want to receive. no 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  put the basis in the motion

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. Everthing is efiled now. I access it all on the Bench via MNCIS 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. nothing special-just make sure it works because I won't continue a case just because your tech is not working
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. copy opposing attorney in advance with what you intend to offer at the hearing and get permission from the court to submit anything after the hearing is completed 
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues?  depends on the case and reasons given to do this

Pretrial procedures:

  • Describe your preferred procedures for pretrial settlement conferences, including the timing of such conferences, persons who must attend, whether persons may attend by telephone or video conference, and how you participate in settlement discussions.  If there is going to be a pretrial that includes settlement issues, everyone must agree to do so and the parties with authority to resolve the case must be present either in person or by telephone.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  do them sufficiently far in advance of the trial so the court can make an informed decision

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day?  start 9 am, break mid morning for 15 minutes, luch for 1 to 1.5 hrs if I have other matters to address and then run the afternoon the same as the morning...finishing by 4:30 to 5:00.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. don't argue the law
    don't argue the facts of the case
    don't waste the jury's time
    I will stop you if you do any of the above.
     
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to courtroom decorum, including movement in the courtroom, use of a podium, whether attorneys should sit or stand, and how to address witnesses.  podium for voir dire and opening--otherwise stay at your table. Stay seated during questioning so the court reporter and courtroom can hear you. Follow the rules and address witnesses formally.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  no
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial.  practice ahead of time to make sure it works, do not waste time if it fails to work
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. Premark 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections.  state the basis, don't argue it like a motion
    come to the bench if there is an issue
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  nothing other than what is allowed under the rules of evidence
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow?  yes-contact the court reporter well in advance to make this request 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  don't do it. jurors do their jobs and they should be left alone

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful. If you have a lot of experts or witnesses that need accommodation due to travel, etc, tell me so the case can get a date certain setting. Please have a good grasp on how long it will take to try your case. 

Judicial Districts