Robert R. Benson

District Court Judge

Counties: Fillmore

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? 15 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: If attorneys wish to appear by phone, there is a $50 fee. I generally call the attorney from the courtroom (electronic. for conference calls, one of the attorneys must initiate and get all parites on the phone. I also reeceive those calls in the courtroom so that i have a record.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: THE RULES OF DECORUM
  • 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? 30-60 days prior to trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of the pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the time of the pretrial
  • 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? No
  • 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? VERY SPECIAL ONES.
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: The purpose of the voir dire is only to determine if a juror can be fair, and, to a limited degree to assist them in exercising their pre emps. casual getting to know the juror/attorney are not permittted.
  • 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? 10 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: 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: 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? 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? I has to be for faily outrageous behavior-like arguing with me after a ruling has been made.

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 Birnbaum

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? 10-15 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 45 - 60 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: By policy adopted by the Olmsted judges, the party requesting to appear by phone must be a $50 fee in advance and provide a phone number where they can be reached. The court initiates the call from the courtroom. If the multiple parties appear by phone then arrangements are made in advance, with the court,on a case-by-case basis.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Stand when presenting argument. Make sure any exhibits to be used can be seen by all parties and the court or that everyone has a copy to review.
  • 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? 7-30 days
  • 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: 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? When parties agree that the case is not ready for trial because of incomplete discovery or witness issues; attorney or party illness or similar special circumstances.
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 do not permit the attorneys to use voir dire as an opportunity to begin arguing the case.
  • 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 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: 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? [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? For repeated disobedience of court orders or rules.

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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Bernard E. Borene

District Court Judge

Counties: Rice

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? No set time
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? No set time
  • 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? Don't have pretrial unless requested. Have settlement conference shortly before trial.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? Five days before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Five days before trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Five days before settlement conference
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Five days before settlement conference
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? No
  • 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? [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? 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? 5 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 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? NA
  • When do you instruct the jury? After the 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? For serious misconduct

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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John Chesterman

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? half the time scheduled, ask the for the amount of time needed
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? see #5
  • 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: Attorney needs to obtain permission and determine if all attorneys will participate by phone. A conference operator should be used and they should call us. We cannot initiate calls. It does not work to hear long or complex matters by phone, but it can work in simple and short matters. Some matters are done in chambers and some in the courtroom and different phone numbers are used.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: I will try to tell you how much of the submitted materials I have been able to review. If I did not receive one of your submissions, you may want to provied more backgroun. You can stand or sit whichever you chose. You may use a podium if you chose.
  • 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? Many months before the trial. I use the pretrial to set the trial date and to set discovery deadlines.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 14 days befoe the trial date. I like to used your submissions in preparation.
  • 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
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? at time of 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: Have calendars to set trial date. As indicated above, I have the pretial early and combine it with a scheduling conference.
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? Winter travel difficulties, death, illness.
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: [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: 8:30 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 10-15, We are supposed to give court reporters breaks every hour, so two short breaks are common. 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 or 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? [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? The attorney I held in contempt was in a situation where a jury trial had been set many months before,and he told me that he was busy and was not planning on attending. He paid the costs the county incurred in jury expenses. The attorney I fined was one who came a couple of hours late, when other attorney and his client were waiting in the courtroom. He explained that he stayed in his office and worked on another case... $25.00.

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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Casey J. Christian

District Court Judge

Counties: Steele

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? as needed
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? as needed
  • 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: Set the hearing as the first one in the morning or afternoon. The first side requesting to appear by phone to set up the conference.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: follow the rules
  • 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? 20 to 30 days
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of the pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the time of the pretrial
  • 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: can't leave the courthouse until the highest and lowest offers are on the table
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? Death? You have to be reasonable.
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: can't personalize, subjects that violate the rules
  • 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? generally 30
  • 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: 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? 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? Yes
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? When the circumstances require 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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Larry M. Collins

District Court Judge

Counties: Waseca

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? no limit
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? no limit
  • 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: Scheduling conferences are routinely done by phone. Scheduling conferences are initiated by court administration. There is no record unless the parties request a record, which almost never happens.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: None
  • 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? No
  • 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? 14 days or as agreed to by the parties at the scheduling conference
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of the pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the time of the pretrial
  • 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: The clients must be present for the pretrial.
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 all the parties agree to 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: [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? 30 minutes on the first day and 15 minutes on the other days of the trial.
  • I normally start jury trials at: 8:30 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of every hour and a half for 15 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of every hour and a half for 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: 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?
  • 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? It would depend on the circumstances.

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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Karen Duncan

District Court Judge

Counties: Steele

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 5 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 10 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: For hearings at which only one party is appearing by phone, the party must notify court admin no later than the day prior to the hearing of the number where the party can be reached. Court staff will call the party from the courtroom. If more than one party wishes to appear by phone, the parties shall confer and decide no less than the day prior to the hearing which party shall call the other and then conference in the Court.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings:
  • 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? Three weeks prior
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? Ten days prior to trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Ten days prior to trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? As determined in the scheduling order
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? As determined in the 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:
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Changes agreed to by the parties can be addressed to the scheduling clerk directly.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Can be addressed at the pretrial, or if the parties are in agreement to change the date, a written letter addressed to me stating the reason(s), that the parties are in agreement, and proposing a new date/time frame.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? When more time is needed to engage in fruitful settlement negotiations, or in an actual emergency. Please note that failure to plan ahead is not an emergency.
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? 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? No
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences?
  • 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: 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: Permit it.
  • 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 arguments
  • 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? N/A
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? 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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Mary Leahy

District Court Judge

Counties: Winona

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 need
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? as long 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: Get prior approval, pay the fee and have court administration make the calls so you don't sit on the phone while I am caught up in a hearing.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Stand to address the court, know who filed first in multi party motions, generally state your position and cite any non-cited materials that support your position.
  • 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? one month prior
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? if not at pretrial--then one week prior to trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? see above
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? see above
  • 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: Be ready to address any evidentiary issues in advance of the trial so we have a chance to look at the issue, settle it if at all possible so that we don't set aside court time and then have it settle on day one of 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? witness availablility, late disclosures, medical issues, if you don't wait until the last minute to make the request, I will typically grant it.
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? 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 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: 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? Yes
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? Doing drugs at the courthouse Repeatedly showing up late with no good explination really annoys me.

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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Ross Leuning

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.

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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Christine Long

District Court Judge

Counties: Rice

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? approximately 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? as needed. If more than 15 minutes per party is required, please let the scheduling clerk know when securing the time of the motion 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: Must be pre-approved and the telephone motion hearing fee must be paid. I will initiate the call from the courtroom and the entire proceding will be on the record. Generally, this is done in uncontested matters or when one party is in prison, out of state, or other unusual circumstances.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Follow the rules of procedure and the rules of decorum. Know which party filed the first motion. Don't repeat the brief. Keep your arguments short and to the point. Know the applicable statutes, rules and case law and use those to focus your arguments. I will read the moving and responsive motions, affidavits and memos before the hearing and will further study them before an order is issued. Be prepared to address and answer questions from the judge.
  • 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? No
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? Two to three weeks, or as agreed by the parties
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? At the pretrial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the pretrial.
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At the pretrial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? At 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: The attorneys trying the case along with the parties or persons authorized to settle the case must be available for the Pretrial Conference. Attorneys should meet 30 minutes before the pre-trial to discuss and identify contested issues and make any final offers. Be ready to address any evidentiary issues and to tell the court with specificity which issues are resolved and which are contested. Read the scheduling order and comply with it!
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? I grant trial extensions if there is good cause. For example: when parties agree that the case is not ready for trial because of incomplete discovery or witness issues; attorney or party illness or similar special circumstances.
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? 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? Ten, or as determined at the end of the previous day
  • 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: 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?
  • 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? Yes
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? When the circumstances require 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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Thomas M Neuville

District Court Judge

Counties: Rice

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? Depends on complexity. Generally, 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? Depends on complexity. Generally, 15-30 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? 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: Should be pre-approved. Generally, only done in uncontested matters, or when one party is in prison, out of state, or other unusual circumstances.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: It helps your case significantly if the lawyer has pre-briefed the issue. Most are unprepared these days. I am likely to deny post hearing briefing if the attorney has not submitted a pre-hearing brief.
  • 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? No
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? 2-3 weeks in advance
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of the pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the time of the pretrial
  • 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: Try to meet 30 minutes before the pre-trial to discuss and identify contested issues.
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? I grant trial extensions liberally if there is good cause. Stipulations and a description of the good cause are helpful.
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? 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 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? I usually ask counsel how long they expect to go before final argument begins
  • 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? Intentional misconduct, lying to court.

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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Matthew Opat

District Court Judge

Counties: Fillmore

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? 15 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: If attorneys wish to appear by phone, there is a $50 fee. I generally call the attorney from the courtroom. For conference calls, one of the attorneys must initiate and get all parties on the phone. I also receive those calls in the courtroom so that I have a record.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: THE RULES OF DECORUM
  • 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 to 60 days prior to trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the time of pretrial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of pretrial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of 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:
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? VERY SPECIAL ONES
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: The purpose of voir dire is only to determine if a juror can be fair, and, to a limited detree to assist them in exercising their pre-emps. Casual getting to know the juror/attorney are not permitted.
  • 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? 10 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: 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: 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?
  • 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? It has to be a fairly outrageous behavior - like arguing with me after a ruling has been made.

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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Donald E. Rysavy

District Court Judge

Counties: Mower

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? 20-30 depending on the time slot.
  • 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 certain before starting that the judge has physical possession of the documents you are referencing (have a copied set available). Address issues in order of the Motion. Avoid regurgitation of written briefing materials in areas adequately covered in brief (I will ask questions if I feel the area has not been addressed.
  • 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? Depending on schedule, 2-3 weeks prior to the trial date.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? Generally at pretrial, if instructions outside of JIGS are requested. First trial day in all other circumstances.
  • 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: 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? Clear conflicts, occurring out of the control of counsel. Unavailability of professional witnesses not previously deposed. Imminent settlement likelihood. I hesitate to continue trial dates because our civil scheduling is limited and often filled 6-9 mont
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: Theory of the case. Promises to decide in a certain fashion if contingent proof is made. Discussion of legal principals (e.g. burden of proof). In my estimation, the purpose of voir dire is to assure a fair jury, not to "educate" them.
  • 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? 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: 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? Directly contemptuous behavior in open Court. Lying to the Court. Refusal to follow direct instructions regarding evidence or procedure.

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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Christina Stevens

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? Depends
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? Depends
  • 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:
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings:
  • 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? 30 days
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? Pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? One week prior to trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? One week prior to trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? One week 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:
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial:
  • 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? 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? 20 Minutes
  • 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 - 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:
  • 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? Prior to 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? 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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Jeffrey D. Thompson

District Court Judge

Counties: Winona

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: The moving party should get the consent of the court and the other party if applicable. The court reporter will be present with the judge in the courtroom to report the proceedings. No testimony will be allowed by phone. Keep in mind, the court's and the counsel's phones do not always work properly.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Keep your arguments short. Trust that the moving and responsive papers will be studied before an order is issued. Be prepared to address and answer questions from the judge.
  • 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
  • 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? 14 -30 days
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of the pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? See the answer on jury instructions. Jury instructions and the special verdict form are the skeleton upon which the case is tried. This should be figured out before the trial starts for sure.
  • 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: Show up on time prepared to discuss all the relevant pre-trial issues.
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 don't require jurors to answer any questions about past jury deliberations or verdicts that they may have participated in. I make it clear that they are free to answer or refuse to answer such questions. I allow attorney voir dire as long as the attorn
  • 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 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: Between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m., depending on the witness
  • 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? Yes
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? No bathroom breaks during Counsel's final argument
  • When do you instruct the jury? After argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? No
    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 have been lucky so far that the attorneys appearing before me have never crossed the line. I have warned, but usually clear communication results in compliance. I would not hesitate to use any necessary sanctions to get attorneys to act properly and ethically.

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 M. Walters

District Court Judge

Counties: Wabasha

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 15-20 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? 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: Phone conferences are usually used only for on-contested matters or pre-trial conferences without motions. My main requirement is that attorneys be ready PROMPTLY when the call is placed. If I'm hearing "elevator music" in the courtroom, I am not happy. I terminated one phone conference because the attorney kept the court waiting too long after the receptionist transferred the call to him.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Do not make personal attacks. I don't care if you think an opponent's argument is "cockamamie". Cite legal authorities and cite them accurately.
  • 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 trial
  • 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? No
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: Be prepared to tell the court with specificity which issues are resolved and which are contested.
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? Agreement of counsel; unforeseen unavailability of a key witness; unforeseen personal or family matter for one of the attorneys; unexpected and unpredicted scheduling conflict of an attorney.
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 do not allow counsel to give their final arguments or to give their version of the law under the guise of voire dire. I will interrupt counsel when they do this and ask if they have a question to pose to the prospective jurors.
  • 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? 5
  • 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: 4:00 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? NA
  • 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? Willful misrepresentations, as opposed to negligent misrepresentations, would generate sanctions. Outrageous conduct, e.g. abusive and profane language directed at another party, attorney or the court.

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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Fred Wellmann

District Court Judge

Counties: Mower

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? 15 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: Do not read your memorandum to me.
  • 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? No
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? 10 to 15 Business days
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 5 business days befor trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 5 business days befor trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 5 business days befor trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 5 business days befor 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.
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 an attorney, material witness or party is ill or otherwise unavailsble and this is appropriatly verified.
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? Yes
    If yes, please explain: Questions as to the law, those asking prospective jurors to speculate,those that attempt to present evidence, those designed to predispose prospective jurors to to be in favor of or against a party, a witness,or some aspect of the case,those asking prospe
  • 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? Immediatly before. Once we have concluded the jury is brought in..
  • 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: Between 12:00 Noon and 1:00 p.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 20-30 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? [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? Yes
  • 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? If forwarned and they continue or the conduct is so egregious as to warrant a mistrial.

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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Jodi L. Williamson

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? one hour
  • 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: I only allow telephone hearings if the case is a default (shorten redemption period or collection) The attorney by letter requests a phone hearing, pays the $50 phone fee and the court initiates the call.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Keep it simple. Do re-state information already in the memos or affidavits. I usually have reviewed the materials prior to hearing and have specific questions that I want answered.
  • 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? 30 days
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of the pretrial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the time of the pretrial
  • 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: I usually meet with the attorneys in chambers to discuss possible settlement and any evidentiary issues. Then if the case does not settle I set our trial length and address witness issues.
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 counsel agree or there is a compelling reason, unavailability of essential witness or lawyer.
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? No
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 noon to 1:30 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: 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? 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? I have done this twice, one time for an egregious discovery violation after several warnings from the court. the other was willfull failure to appear after being told to appear and address a discovery issue.

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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