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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.


Third Judicial District Judges


Leuning, Ross

District Court Judge

Counties: Freeborn

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 20 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 30 minutes
  • 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: Pay the phone appearance fee. Provide a direct phone number for the attorney appearing. The court will call the attorney from the courtroom on the record.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Moving party to identify issue to be addressed at hearing. All supporting pleading show be filed prior to hearing (motions, affidavits etc). Identify resolved issues and make a record of the agreement.
  • 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?
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 2 weeks before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? with proposed jury instructions
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 2 weeks before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 2 weeks before 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: Identify any motions in limine; provide the court a witness list; identify any objections to deposition testimony.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Changes allowed when agreed upon by the parties. If no agreement, the party requesting must file request and reasons in writing and copy opposing party. Opposing party will be allowed written response.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Changes allowed when agreed upon by the parties. If no agreement, the party requesting must file request and reasons in writing and copy opposing party. Opposing party will be allowed written response. A hearing will be set if issues warrant it.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? Upon agreement of parties; when proceeding would impose an undue hardship on a party and the circumstances are not within the control of the moving party (i.e. a critical witness dies or has a family emergency arise unexpectedly).
Civil Jury Trials
  • Do you perform preliminary voir dire? Yes
  • Do you place a time limit on voir dire by counsel? Yes
  • 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? Stand
  • 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? 30
  • 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: 90 minutes
  • 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.
  • 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: permit it unless the right is abused
  • 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 final 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? When they violate the court rules to such a degree as to jeopardize the outcome of trial or show open contempt to the court.

Judicial Districts