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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


Stevens, Christina

District Court Judge

Counties: Olmsted

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 15 Minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? Attorneys need to request sufficient time for argument when scheduling the motion. They will be limited to the time alloted for the hearing.
  • 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? 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:  I will grant requests to appear by phone for uncontested, brief hearings. Contested hearings require an in person appearance. 
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings:  Follow the rules of decorum. Stand when you address the court. In a multi-party action, remember who filed first. I read all submissions prior to the hearing. Please do not read your brief - highlight your arguments and allow for time for questions from the court. Adhere to your timelines as untimely submissions will be struck from the record.
  • 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? Friday afternoon, two weeks prior to trial.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? Pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At pretrial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At pretrial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? At 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:  Motions in limine must be filed prior to the pretrial and attorneys are expected to present argument on the motions at the hearing. Attorneys should also be prepared to discuss scheduling issues: out-of-state witnesses, daily disclosure of witness line-up, etc...
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial:  Attorneys should send a letter, not an amended scheduling order, to my chambers regarding the requested changes. If approved, I will issue an amended order. Any proposed changes in the dispositive motion hearing deadline must all for 90 days between the deadline and the pretrial hearing. 
  • For changes on the date of trial:  Attorneys must request a scheduling conference with my chambers to discuss the continuance request. Attorneys should know what their availability is for rescheduling at that conference in the event the continuance is granted. 
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date?  I will grant joint requests as long as they are timely submitted - do not wait until the pretrial to make your continuance request. 
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? No
    If yes, please explain:
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Attorney preference
  • 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? 15-20 Minutes
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 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 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:  Attorneys are asked to approach the bench while the jury stands, stretches, and moves about in the jury box. If more than a few minutes is needed to address the issue, the jury is excused for a break and attorneys argue the issue from counsel table. 
  • 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 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? 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?

Judicial Districts