Michael Baxter

District Court Judge

Counties: Le Sueur County

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? 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: Advance approval and we call the attorneys
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: None other than the rules
  • 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? 30 days before
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? Save time as witness/exhibit lists
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Day trial starts
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Typically 14 days before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Same as above
  • 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: Counsel can agree and just notify the court
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Counsel can agree and just notify the court
  • For changes on the date of trial: Counsel can agree and if not, they need to confer with the court
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? Many
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? Either
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? No
  • 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 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 p.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 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: Depends
  • 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? Give attorneys a choice but generally before 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?
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? Yes
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior?

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Janet Cain

District Court Judge

Counties: Carver County

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 15 minutes. Longer is complex.
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 30 minutes. Longer if complex.
  • 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: Most telephone conferences are on ENE status updates. Attorneys must initiate phone conference. Will allow phone conferences in CHIPS cases and default hearings if one party is out of state. On all other cases, need permission of the court prior to the hearing.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Be respectful. Don't start arguing until the court is ready for you to begin. Be mindful of the court reporter and make a good record. Do not talk over others or interupt.
  • 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? Depends on case.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 10 days before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 10 days before trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 1-2 weeks before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 1-2 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: File motions in limine and handle at the pretrial or schedule them after the pretrial but at least 30 days prior to trial. Have case mediated prior to pretrial if possible or soon thereafter.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Stipulation and order with a cover letter explaining why the change is necessary.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Stipulation and order with a cover letter explaining why the continuance is necessary or a telephone conference.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? Circumstances vary so often. Handle on a case by case basis.
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: Depends on the case. I do fairly extensive voir dire (more like federal court) and appreciate counsel being fairly brief in voir dire.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Sit
  • 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? 15-30 minutes
  • I normally start jury trials at: 8:30-8:45
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30
  • 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: have the jury stand up and talk amongst themselves
  • 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 closing
  • 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? No
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?

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Robert Carolan

District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 15
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 30
  • 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: [No Answer Entered]
  • 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? 42
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? First day of trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? First day of trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of the pretrial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of the 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: [No Answer Entered]
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: I normally allow such changes if Counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? [No Answer Entered]
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: [No Answer Entered]
  • 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? [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 p.m.
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: [No Answer Entered]
    Keep notes during deliberation? Yes
    Ask the witnesses questions? No
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: Send the jury out of the courtroom and have argument in open court.
  • 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? Counsels’ preference
  • 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? No sure. I do not think that this is an appropriate question because if the response is published, it could invite counsel to test the line with respect to what is appropriate.

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Lawrence Clark

District Court Judge

Counties: Goodhue

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? 30 minutes
  • 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?
    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:
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Identify yourself and your client. If the issues have been briefed, highlight the most important facts and law. Do not personally attack opposing counsel. If exhibits will be used during testimony, provide the court with a copy to follow along. Consider a copy for the judicial law clerk, depending on circumstances. If significant financial or economic data are at issue, prepare a spread sheet.
  • 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? No
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial?
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? Pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Pretrial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Pretrial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 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: Be prepared to discuss settlement discussions and final offers. Discuss anticipated evidentiary rulings that will be needed, length of trial, method of voir dire and scheduling.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Agreement of the parties or for good cause
  • For changes on the date of trial:
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date?
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?
  • 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 minutes
  • 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 15 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at:
  • 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: allow
  • 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?
  • 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? Filing a fraudulent document or knowingly deceiving the court. Intentionally violating a court order.

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Terrence E. Conkel

District Court Judge

Counties: McLeod

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 20 minutes
  • 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: Attendance by phone must be pre-approved. Phone hearings are normally limited to default matters where the adverse party is not expected to attend. The court will call counsel. The hearing may commence after the scheduled time. The hearing will be on the record.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: No specific procedures are required.
  • 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? 60
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? About 1-2 weeks before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 1-2 weeks before trial
  • 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: [No Answer Entered]
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: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? [No Answer Entered]
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: [No Answer Entered]
  • 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? [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 Noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 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: Send the jury out of the courtroom and have argument in open court.
  • 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? 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? 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? A clear act of unethical behavior or a direct and intentional violation of a court order.

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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David Knutson

District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? As long as they wish
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? as long as they wish
  • 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? 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: [No Answer Entered]
  • 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? [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? [No Answer Entered]
  • When are jury instructions due? First day of trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? First day of trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At time of pretrial or 2 weeks prior to trial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? At time of pretrial or 2 weeks prior to 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: Be prepared to settle your case. Be prepared to preview the trial and disclose any evidentiary issues that may come up at trial.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Such changes are not allowed without special written request or a motion to the court.
  • 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? Agreement of the parties based upon an unresolvable conflict and a new date agreed upon by all parties, the court, and court administration.
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: [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Sit
  • 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: 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 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: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • 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? 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? 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? Whenever the conduct of the attorney called for it.

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Edward Lynch

District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? I only restrict argument time when the need to hear other matters requires it. Generally, any argument of this type over 10 minutes is too long
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? I only restrict argument time when the need to hear other matters requires it. Generally any argument of this type over 20 minures is too long.
  • 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: I do not regularly conduct hearings by phone, but I am not opposed to it if all the parties agree. I prefer that the parties agree that the hearing need not be reported and I prefer that the moving party arrange the teleconference.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: They should assume that I am familiar with the written submissions and should focus their comments on their main argument.
  • 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? [No Answer Entered]
  • Will you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during the course of a deposition? [No Answer Entered]
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? Because of our assignment system, scheduling orders are issued by court administration.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? If I am blocked to a case, motions in limine and jury instructions are preferred at the pretrial. Often, however, I defer ruling on motions in limine until the trial because the ruling frequently depends on what happens at trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? If I am blocked to a case, verdict forms at pretrial are preferred. Otherwise verdict forms the first day of trial are acceptable.
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Usually the exchange of witnesses and exhibits etc is addressed in the scheduling order.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? See answer to 18.
  • 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: I do not have any specific procedures.
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: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? [No Answer Entered]
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: I assume counsel will ask only appropriate questions. I normally will not interject without an objection from another party, but I reserve to interject if I believe counsel is overreaching.
  • 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? Yes
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? I usually ask counsel to be present at least 15 minutes before court commences so any issues can be addressed.
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m. in the morning and 1:30 p.m in the afternoon, but am flexible to accomodate counsel or witnesses.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 to 20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 Noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 to 20 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 to 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: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? I have not placed time limits in the past. I normally ask counsel how long they anticipate their arguments and if too long, I would restrict them.
  • 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? [No Answer Entered]
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? [No Answer Entered]
  • 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? I cannot recall ever sanctioning counsel, but I may have imposed a fine on one or two occasions. I have however required counsel to pay attorneys fees incurred by the other party for conduct that resulted in delay or additional expense.

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Michael Mayer

District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

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? 20 minutes
  • 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: Commom courtesy is nice....other than that...I appreciate hearing one side's argument in it's entirety followed by a point by point response
  • 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? depends on complexity
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? First day of trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? First day of trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? [No Answer Entered]
  • 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: [No Answer Entered]
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: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? [No Answer Entered]
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: seatbelts are an example
  • 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? Yes
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? 15-20
  • 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: 12:00 noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15-20 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: Send the jury out of the courtroom and have argument in open court.
  • 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 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? any open disrespect for the judicial system or hostility toward opposing counsel or the court. Repeated tardiness can result in a sanction as can refusal to comply with court orders or rules of discovery

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Kathryn D. Messerich

District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

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? 30 minutes
  • 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. Reiterate important facts only. Do not argue as though you are arguing to a jury. Do not interrupt either opposing Counsel or me (the judge). If you have a case on point, give me the cite. If cases provide analogous support, say so.
  • 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? On request of parties. Our District does not automatically schedule pretrials.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 14 days before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 14 days before trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 14 days before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 14 days 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: I schedule pretrials on cases blocked to me but they are not routine in our District. What I want at the pretrial is: Highlight dispute evidentiary and legal issues. Discuss any technology needs. Be prepared to outline settlement attempts and whether they have been fully exhausted. Realistically discuss schedule. How many days do you really need, what order the witnesses are going to be called in, whether testimony will be offered by deposition.
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? Unforeseen emergencies among a party or Counsel. Sudden unavailability of a witness whose testimony cannot be otherwise preserved by a deposition. Trial in another county/district that is not complete with verification that the trial is on-going.
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: I will ask questions about mental health concerns, history of sexual abuse, other health concerns, bias. Questions reregarding insurance -- I ask in accordance with the Rules of Gen. Practice.
  • 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? 15
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 10 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 10 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: Refuse to permit counsel to argue until a later time.
  • 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 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? Violation of a court order, failing to be candid with the court, continued interruptions after warning, outwardly disrespectful behavior after warning, repeatedly being late for court, bringing an action in bad faith.

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Shawn Moynihan

District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 20 minutes
  • 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: I will do this in limited situations and for relatively minor matters. Generally, these are not recorded by any means unless the situation calls for it.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: At the beginning of the motion tell the court what relief you are seeking from the court. Do not repeat everything that is in your motion papers, just hit the high points. When I say that I have read your papers, I mean it. Don't interrupt the opposing counsel when they are arguing.
  • 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? No
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? These are set by court administration and not by the judge.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? First day of trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? First day of trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Approximately one month before trial unless the circumstances surrounding the trial would require a different time frame.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Approximately one month before trial unless the circumstances surrounding the trial would require a different time frame.
  • 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: Be prepared to conduct meaningful settlement discussions. At a minimum be ready to narrow the number of issues for trial.
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: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? When both parties agree or when some type of unforeseen event comes up that was beyond the control of the party seeking the continuance.
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: This would depend on the nature of the case and the subject matter counsel wanted to explore with the jury.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Sit
  • 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? I usually only require it if there are issues that need to be addressed before the jury comes into the courtroom.
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 -25 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 Noon, or close to it depending on the testimony.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 - 25 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 p.m., or close to it depending on the testimony.
  • 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: Send the jury out of the courtroom and have argument in open court.
  • 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? Counsels’ preference
  • 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? I don't have an answer for that. It would depend on the conduct of the lawyer and the entire situation. Fortunately I have not had that situation come up yet.

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Richard C. Perkins

District Court Judge

Counties: Carver

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? 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: not "regularly" and only if attorneys basically guarantee no more than 15 minutes total; moving party makes all the arrangements AFTER obtaining my approval; arguments only--no testimony
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: first, let me know last papers filed so I can make sure i have everything in the file. second, do not regurgitate the written submissions.
  • 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? see first district scheduling order
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? part of district scheduling order
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? part of district scheduling order
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? part of district scheduling order
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? part of district scheduling order
  • 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: [No Answer Entered]
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: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? always need the approval of local administration
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: [No Answer Entered]
  • 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? Yes
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? "meet" as in have my reporter, law clerk or bailiff inquire about need to meet before trial re-commences
  • I normally start jury trials at: 8:30 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 Noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 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: Send the jury out of the courtroom and have argument in open court.
  • 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? 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? 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? [No Answer Entered]

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Michael R. Savre

District Court Judge

Counties: McLeod

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 10 minutes per party with 3-minutes of rebuttal
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 20 minutes per party with 5 minutes of rebuttal
  • 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: Arrangements for phone conferences should be made through the Court's law clerk at: (320) 864-1233. The attorney who is bringing the motion should initiate the conference call. The Court typically takes the call over a speaker phone, in chambers, with a reporter present.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: I will let counsel know if I have or have not had time to review their submissions prior to the hearing. I like to receive courtesy copies of dispostive motions in advance of the hearing.
  • 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? At least 45 days prior to trial.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? 10 days prior to trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 10 days prior to trial.
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 10 days prior to trial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 10 days prior
  • 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: [No Answer Entered]
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: I rarely grant such changes.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? Illness of counsel or witnessess; unforseeable circumstances (i.e unavailability of a witness) that would prejudice a party.
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: Educating the jury on the law.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Sit
  • 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 minutes
  • I normally start jury trials at: 8:30 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15-20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 Noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15-20 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: Send the jury out of the courtroom and have argument in open court.
  • 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? 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? Unprofessional behavior; ignoring Court directive; tardiness (following a warning).

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Martha Simonett

District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? I try to give the parties as much time as they need
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? I try to give each party as much time as they need
  • 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: The moving party should initiate the call. If the parties want a stenographic record made, they should advise the court's chambers.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Even with the assumption that the court has read the briefs, I like a brief recap of the facts, procedural history, and how the moving party frames the issues. It is helpful if the parties can somehow organize their oral arguments into about 3 main points.
  • 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? [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? [No Answer Entered]
  • When are jury instructions due? [No Answer Entered]
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? [No Answer Entered]
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: [No Answer Entered]
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? [No Answer Entered]
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: I try to limit voir dire to questions relevant to ensuring a fair and impartial panel. I try to give the lawyers a copy of Judge Gordon Shumaker's comments on Voir Dire--it's excellent!!!!
  • 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? No
  • 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? If something has come up or if the lawyers request a discussion, we'll meet about 15 minutes before we call up the jury for the day.
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 Noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20 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: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • 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? 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? [No Answer Entered]

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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Pat Sutherland

District Court Judge

Counties: Dakota

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? 20 minutes
  • 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: [No Answer Entered]
  • 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? Central Assignment does all of the scheduling.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? [No Answer Entered]
  • When are jury instructions due? If a case is blocked to me, I'd like the jury instructions a week before trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Same.
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Ususally Counsel will pick the date at the pretrial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Same.
  • 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: [No Answer Entered]
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: I normally allow such changes if Counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? If there is an illness or a family emergency for Counsel or party or if ADR is not completed and attorneys believe the case will settle.
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: [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? I 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? Yes
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? 15 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 p.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 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: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • 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? Counsels’ preference
  • 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? [No Answer Entered]

The Civil Litigation Judges Courtroom Preferences is a public service of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Questions or comments may be directed to Jennifer Carter, the MSBA staff liaison to the section.

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