Steven A. Anderson

District Court Judge

Counties: Mille Lacs

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? I' ve never set a limit but No one has ever gone more than 15 minutes per party.
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? Same as 6 but the times are about 20-30 minutes in some cases
  • 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: Have all paper work timely filed so I don't have to keep the record open for more submissions
  • Do you like to receive courtesy copies of motion papers? No
Discovery Disputes
  • Do you require counsel to "meet and confer" before bringing discovery disputes to a hearing? Yes
  • Will you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during the course of a deposition? Yes
Pretrial Procedures
  • When do you normally set the pretrial in relation to the trial? 14 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? I like them at the pre trial so once the jury is here we don't make them set around while the parties haggle over wording of the intructions.
  • 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: If there multiple parties I like to be provided with a roster and a list of what is agreed to and is left to be decided.
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? It depends how far in advance the request comes in. If there is sufficient time to reschedule other matters and niether party objects or no serious prejudice would be imposed on a party. Illness,death,over burdend criminal calendar which must be heard, co
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 require some relevance to be shown before I allow any indepth personal matters to be asked.
  • 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? Usually I ask them to come in about 30 minutes before I want the jury in.
  • 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 20 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 p.m.
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: Yes
    Keep notes during deliberation? Yes
    Ask the witnesses questions? No
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? Before argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? Yes
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? No
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? Yes
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? No
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? If an attorney is late on a regular basis or costing the other money by not being prepared.

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.

Go back to top

Douglas P. Anderson

District Court Judge

Counties: Morrison

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 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: Obtain consent from other Counsel; then ask permission of the court; coordinate who will initiate ther call; then state your name each time before the attorney speaks so the court reporter knows who is speaking.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: May remain seated so voices are amplified adequately.
  • 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? 15 days before trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 5 days before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 5 days before trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of the pretrial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of the pretrial
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? Yes
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: [No Answer Entered]
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: I normally allow such changes if Counsel agree.
  • For changes on the date of trial: I normally allow such changes if Counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? In the case of unforseen, unforseeable or exigent 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: [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Don't care, they can do either
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? Yes
  • Do you normally require counsel to meet each morning with the court before the jury comes into the courtroom? No
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 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: Send the jury out of the courtroom and have argument in open court.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? Before argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? Yes
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? No
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? No
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? No
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? For a direct contempt or for other unethical behavior proven, but not committed in the court's presence.

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.

Go back to top

David R. Battey

District Court Judge

Counties: Douglas

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 15 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 20 minutes
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? Yes
  • Do you regularly conduct hearings and motions by phone? No
    If yes, please describe the procedure you would like attorneys to use to do so, including how testimony is to be transcribed and who puts the teleconference together: [No Answer Entered]
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Follow the Rules and be polite
  • 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? 30 days prior to the trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? First day of trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? First day of trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? Usually within two weeks prior to trial---This is addressed in Scheduling Order
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? See #18
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? Yes
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: No telephone appearances allowed....I also require them to bring their clients or someone with authority to settle to 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? Witness unavailability, death in family, illness,etc.
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 instruction on legal issues;on promises; no responses to hypothetical questions;other matters not allowed by caselaw
  • 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 15-20 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: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? Before argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? Yes
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? No
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? Yes
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? Yes
  • 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 ethical rules or significant violations of the Rules of Civil Procedure or lie to the Court or act inappropiately in the courtroom

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.

Go back to top

Steven J. Cahill

District Court Judge

Counties: Clay

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 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: Advance approval of the court is required. Motions involving testimony will usually not be heard by phone. The court will initiate the call.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Proper business attire is required. Attorneys should remain seated at counsel table or stand at a podium when addressing the court, so that the microphones can pick up the speaker's voice.
  • 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? 2-4 weeks prior to trial.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 7 days prior to trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 7 days prior to trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 7 days prior to trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 7 days 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: ***JUDGES Q3h TE***
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: A motion hearing, either in person or by telephone.
  • 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? I have no hard and fast rules. It depends upon the nature of the case, the anticipated length of trial, how soon the motion is made prior to the trial date, the reasons for the requested continuance, the relative inconvenience to parties, witnesses and the court if the trial were to be rescheduled.
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 at counsel table or stand at podium
  • 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: allow it.
  • 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 closing 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? No
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? Counsel should be familiar enough with the rules of court, evidence and decorum to know when a judge would consider sanctions, etc.

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.

Go back to top

Kris Davick-Halfen

District Court Judge

Counties: Stearns

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 20-30 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 20-45 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: Assume I have read the written material, but allow summary of the important points......If I haven't read the material, I will let them know, and they can address what is in the written a bit more........
  • 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? 10-30 days prior
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? At the time of the pretrial or 2 weeks before the scheduled start of the trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? At the time of the pretrial or 2 weeks before the scheduled start of the trial.
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At the time of the pretrial or 2 weeks before the scheduled start of the trial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Same as above, but will allow reduction of exhibits at any time........
  • 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: Simply to tell me where things are at.............how far apart are they.....is there anything the court can do to assist in resolution......
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? Depends....I usually schecule "phone conferences" throughout the course of the case, to keep "tabs" on where things are at.....We usually know how things are progressing....... but I do like to keep things "tight".
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: Not usually.......
  • 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 15-20, depends on if there are "issues" I need to discuss with the attorneys... 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: 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? 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? If I felt the actions were in fact bad enough to warrant........most attorneys are "well behaved".......I have gotten frustrated, and the attorneys have "calmed" down........

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.

Go back to top

Conrad Freeberg

District Court Judge

Counties: Morrison

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? expect no more than 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? expect no more than 20 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? No
    If yes, please describe the procedure you would like attorneys to use to do so, including how testimony is to be transcribed and who puts the teleconference together: I do sometimes hear uncontested motions by phone, not contested or testimonial hearings. Attorneys should get advance permission and make arrangements with courtroom clerk.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: attorneys can remain seated for objections and arguments
  • 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? 14 to 21 days before trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? 14 days prior to trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 14 days prior to trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 14 days prior to trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 14 days 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: [No Answer Entered]
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • For changes on the date of trial: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? this will depend on the age of the case and the number of continuance previously granted
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
  • 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 before on first day of trial, varies thereafter
  • 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., or natural break in testimony
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: Yes
    Keep notes during deliberation? Yes
    Ask the witnesses questions? No
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? Before argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? Yes
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? No
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? Yes
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? No
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? failure to appear for a hearing, repeated violations of court orders or directions, being under the influence in court, purposeful disruptions or delays to court proceedings.

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.

Go back to top

Frederick L. Grunke

District Court Judge

Counties: Stearns

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? 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: Must be approved by written request in advance. Only used for motions that are routine and don't involve the taking of testimony. Court admin usually initiates the call.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Motion hearing procedures, including the length of argument, requests for courtesy copies, etc. are very case specific. Most significant, contested hearings are conducted like appellate arguments with frequent questions rather than reiteration of the written material.
  • 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? 7-10 days before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 7-10 days before trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 7-10 days before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 7-10 days before trial
  • 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: Stipulate to foundation/admissibility of non-conroversial exhibits; preview issues likely to arise at 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? Any good reason if continuance is requested by all parties.
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: questions designed to "educate" jurors about a party's theory of the case or toobtain commitments from jurors regarding what they would do.
  • 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 first day; 15 minutes thereafter unless longer time is required for instructions, etc.
  • I normally start jury trials at: attorneys 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? Before argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? Yes
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? No
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? Yes
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? No
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? Intentional disreqard of rules; rulings. Any breach of ethics regarding interaction with attorneys, judge or trial participants.

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.

Go back to top

Mark Hansen

District Court Judge

Counties: Otter Tail County

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 15 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 30 minutes
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? 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: ***JUDGES Q1d Comment TE***
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: If a contested hearing, a personal appearance is required. If not contested, then a telephone appearance will be allowed, if approved prior to the hearing. We don't take testimony unless requested and approved prior to the hearing. I allow one responsive argument for each side. I tend to ask questions. If you are going to cite a case, please provide the citation and not just the name of the case. You can usually assume we have read the filings. If not, you will be informed.
  • 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? I prefer that they be filed by the pretrial. At the latest, two weeks before trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Same time as instructions
  • 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: I expect that you will have talked about the issues and settlement prior to the pretrial and are prepared to discuss that at the pretrial. I expect you to be prepared to try the case and generally require an appearance by parties with settlement authority, unless previously waived.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: I expect that counsel will discuss a requrested change and provide a good reason for the change. Generally, I will let counsel provide suggested scheduling deadlines.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Generally these are done by telephone conference. I expect that these will have been discussed by counsel and a very good reason provided for a change.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? A very good reason
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: Generally, I expect counsel to follow the rules: not try and elicit promises from the jury; not talk about prior jury verdicts, etc.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Sit
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? Yes
  • Do you normally require counsel to meet each morning with the court before the jury comes into the courtroom? Yes
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? 30 minutes
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 AM
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 until 1:30 PM
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 PM
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: Yes
    Keep notes during deliberation? Yes
    Ask the witnesses questions? No
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: Allow on a limited basis, if it is not unduly disruptive
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? ***JUDGES Q5ncomment TE***
  • When do you instruct the jury? Prior to 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? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? Yes
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? No
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? A serious violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or breach of decorum.

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.

Go back to top

James Hoolihan

District Court Judge

Counties: Benton

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? It is rare for me to impose limits. It depends on the case.
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? It is rare for me to impose limits. It depends on the case.
  • 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: Request permission in advance. No testimony by phone, only arguments.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: I have read the materials. Hit the highpoints. Be respectful of opponent.
  • 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? I set trial dates at the pretrial hearing. My scheduling order sets the pretrial date.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 14 days before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 14 days before trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 14 days before trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 14 days before trial
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? Yes
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: Be on time.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Such changes are not allowed without special written request or a motion to the court.
  • For changes on the date of trial: I rarely grant such changes.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? I will consider any reasonable request. However, changes in trial dates will only be granted for extraordinary reasons.
Civil Jury Trials
  • Do you perform preliminary voir dire? Yes
  • Do you place a time limit on voir dire by counsel? No
  • Is there subject matter you will not permit counsel to ask of the jury? No
    If yes, please explain: [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Don't care, they can do either
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? Yes
  • Do you normally require counsel to meet each morning with the court before the jury comes into the courtroom? No
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 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? Yes
  • 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? Yes
  • 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? When appropriate.

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

Go back to top

Michael S. Jesse

District Court Judge

Counties: Benton

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? No limit - but I have never had one go on too long.
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? No limit - but I have never had one go on too long.
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? Yes
  • Do you regularly conduct hearings and motions by phone? No
    If yes, please describe the procedure you would like attorneys to use to do so, including how testimony is to be transcribed and who puts the teleconference together: [No Answer Entered]
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Nothing beyond following the rules.
  • Do you like to receive courtesy copies of motion papers? Yes
Discovery Disputes
  • Do you require counsel to "meet and confer" before bringing discovery disputes to a hearing? 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? 30 to 60 days 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? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? Yes
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: Nothing unusual - my pretrials are generally informally done in chambers.
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? Essential witness availability, unanticipated change in circumstances of the case, hardship to the parties, etc.
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: Anything outside of legitimate inquiry to find a basis to challenge for cause (bias, prejudice, etc.) No hypothical verdict questions, no trying the case in voir dire or ingratiating patronization.
  • 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? 60 minutes
  • I normally start jury trials at: 8:00 a.m. on the first day (jury at 9:00 a.m.) and 8:30 a.m. thereafter
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 p.m.
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: Yes
    Keep notes during deliberation? Yes
    Ask the witnesses questions? No
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? 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? Yes
    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? An intentional and material ethical violation would merit consideration of contempt, sanctions, report to the Board, etc. I reported an attorney for a material misrepresentation in an affidavit and I have found one attorney in contempt and fined the attorney for repeated, unexcused failures to appear for hearings.

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.

Go back to top

Frank Kundrat

District Court Judge

Counties: Stearns

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: They are mostly informal for case status checks and problems that might arise. If any evidence is to be introduced, I prefer to do it in person in court.
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: The usual rules of decorum apply. I send out a "trial ready" order in civil cases after the pre-trial, which outlines the rules of decorum and procedure for counsel to follow, as well as the emarking of exhibits and other trial needs to provide for as smooth a presentation as possible.
  • 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? Approximately 180 days prior to trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? 3 business days prior to trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? 3 business days prior to trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? 3 business days prior to trial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? 3 business days 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: I ask the attorneys to inform the court of ADR proceedings and status, discovery and evidentiary issues for resolution, anticipated time of trial and witnesses scheduled, needs for special audio-visual or computer equipment, necessary motions in limine to be made, other evidentiary, scheduling and trial issues for resolution prior to trial.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: I allow them if necessary witnesses become inadvertently unavailable, health emergencies arise, the parties need more time to conduct discovery or ADR, or other unavoidable conflicts arise.
  • For changes on the date of trial: I allow them if necessary witnesses become inadvertently unavailable, health emergencies arise, the parties need more time to conduct discovery or ADR, or other unavoidable conflicts arise. This is assuming that the parties are requesting the change of date and not the court.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? I allow them if necessary witnesses become inadvertently unavailable, health emergencies arise, the parties need more time to conduct discovery or ADR, or other unavoidable conflicts arise. This is assuming that the parties are requesting the change of date and not the court.
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: Basically the types of questions attorneys ask that may require the prospective juror to make a legal or factual determination that might be at issue in the trial.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Sit, but stand when permission is granted by the Court to approach the witness.
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? Yes
  • Do you normally require counsel to meet each morning with the court before the jury comes into the courtroom? Yes
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? 15-30 minutes
  • I normally start jury trials at: 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: Require that it be done out of the presence of the jury. If not crucial to the flow of testimony, it should be argued during a jury break.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? It really depends on the nature and complexity of the trial. I usually give counsel as much time as they need, so long as they not get sidetracked or repetitious.
  • When do you instruct the jury? Just prior to and immediately after the presentations of the attorneys' 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? 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? If an attorney blatantly ignores prior warnings about vexatious or contemptuous conduct, or commits a serious ethical breach.

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.

Go back to top

Vicki E. Landwehr

District Court Judge

Counties: Stearns

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 20 minutes
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? Yes
  • Do you regularly conduct hearings and motions by phone? No
    If yes, please describe the procedure you would like attorneys to use to do so, including how testimony is to be transcribed and who puts the teleconference together: [No Answer Entered]
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: I don't have any particular procedures that I'd like them to follow, other than I would like them to not simply repeat what is in their pleadings, and to also not make their oral presentation overly repetitious. Focus on what they believe is their strongest argument.
  • 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? 15 to 30 days prior to trial
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? One week to 10 days prior to trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? One week to 10 days prior to trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? If not at pre-trial, should be done at the same time the verdict forms are submitted.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? one week to 10 days 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: [No Answer Entered]
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • For changes on the date of trial: I normally allow such changes if counsel agree.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? While I will generally allow a change in the trial date if counsel agree, that would not normally be allowed, without some type of explanation, if the case is getting old or has been changed in the past.
Civil Jury Trials
  • Do you perform preliminary voir dire? Yes
  • Do you place a time limit on voir dire by counsel? No
  • Is there subject matter you will not permit counsel to ask of the jury? No
    If yes, please explain: [No Answer Entered]
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Don't care, they can do either
  • Do you require counsel to be behind counsel table unless counsel has a specific reason to approach a witness? Yes
  • Do you normally require counsel to meet each morning with the court before the jury comes into the courtroom? No
    If yes, how many minutes before court commences? [No Answer Entered]
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 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.; however, we will go later if it is necessary in order to finish a witness, etc.
  • 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? Bench conferences are of limited duration; if long, we would discuss outside of jury presence.
  • 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? Yes
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? I would only report an attorney in the event of a clear violation of the Rules of Professional Responsibility. While I would consider sanctions in the rare case, I've never had the need to do so.

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.

Go back to top

Sally Ireland Robertson

District Court Judge

Counties: Wadena and Todd

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? 10 minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? 20 minutes
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? Yes
  • Do you regularly conduct hearings and motions by phone? No
    If yes, please describe the procedure you would like attorneys to use to do so, including how testimony is to be transcribed and who puts the teleconference together: [No Answer Entered]
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Emphasize most important points, don't repeat whole memorandum.
  • 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? If possible, 2 weeks before 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? Yes
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: Parties are expected to report on ADR and/or settlement efforts at pre-trial, pre-mark and stipulate to exhibits or foundation for exhibtts if possible, alert the court to witness or other scheduling problems.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: If parties do not agree, then a motion is necessary.
  • 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? e.g.,unexpected health issues for parties, counsel, or material witnesses; conflict with dates when this case was set up as back-up to another case; discovery of new evidence or law which could result in settlement or narrowing of issues for jury.
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: I don't allow final arguments in voir dire; I try to limit repetive boring questions in voir dire
  • 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? 5-10 ,omites
  • 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 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 p.m., unless we could finish a witness with another 15-30 minutes
  • 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? e.g., intentionally introducing evidence which was not disclosed and for which admissibility would be in question; tampering with with witnesses for the other side; implying the existence of evidence which does not exist; intentionally violating evidentiary rulings by 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.

Go back to top

Steven Ruble

District Court Judge

Counties: Mille Lacs

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? reasonable period depending upon motion
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? reasonable period
  • With respect to oral argument, do you prefer an attorney to not reiterate written material? No
  • Do you regularly conduct hearings and motions by phone? No
    If yes, please describe the procedure you would like attorneys to use to do so, including how testimony is to be transcribed and who puts the teleconference together: [No Answer Entered]
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: Typically I begin before argument by stating my concerns and perhaps asking questions regarding the isues raised in the submitted motions.
  • 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? set pertrial conference several months before trial.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? a week before trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? four weeks after pretrial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? four weeks afer 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: Discuss evidentiary issues, exhibits and possible stipulations.
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? Unless cousel agree, I usually do not permit continuance unless an unforeseen and unavoidable problem arises which could not have been addressed sufficently prior to trial to avoid having to grant a continuance. I caution attorneys at pretrial that anyth
Civil Jury Trials
  • Do you perform preliminary voir dire? No
  • 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: Voire dire should not be used for juror indoctrination or to argue the case. Therefore, even "neutral" questions which only are disguised forms or indoctrination and argument will not be permitted.
  • 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? However, I expect the trial to begin as soon as the jury arrives.
  • I normally start jury trials at: 8:30 a.m.. I strictly adhere to all these times, especially time set to start and only one hour lunch.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: around 12:00 Noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 15 minutes in the afternoon.
  • I normally finish court for the day at: 4:30 p.m.
  • Do you permit jurors to:
    Take Notes: Yes
    Keep notes during deliberation? Yes
    Ask the witnesses questions? No
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: Engage in the discussion at the bench with the jury present.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? No
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? [No Answer Entered]
  • When do you instruct the jury? Before argument
  • After argument and instructions, do you:
    Require counsel to be available by telephone? Yes
    Request that counsel remain at the courthouse during deliberations of the jury? No
    Take a verdict without counsel present and inform them after the verdict by telephone of the result? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? 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? Financial sanction: unecessary delays incuring attorney fees for other side (award fees) Report to Board: Intential and blatant misrepresentations to the court relating to procedural and attorney related issues.

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.

Go back to top

John Scherer

District Court Judge

Counties: Stearns

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? About 5-10 minutes, depending on the complexity
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? About 5-10 minutes, depending on the complexity
  • 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: Only non-contested and default matters handled by phone
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys in your courtroom to follow at motion hearings: No specific procedures. They may stand or stay seated. Please don't interrupt each other. Send courtesy copies only if the file is venued in a county other than Stearnes or if the documents are being filed relatively close to the hearing dates.
  • 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? 10 to 20 days prior. Pretrials are not always set for simple civil litigation.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? Yes
  • When are jury instructions due? File prior to the pretrial. If no PT, about 10 days prior to trial.
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Same as Jury Instructions
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? That should really be governed by discovery. I will need the final list prior to the start of trial.
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? Same as for witnesses (see above).
  • Do you discuss settlement of the case with the parties at the time of the pretrial? Yes
  • State any specific procedures you would like attorneys to follow at the time of the pretrial: I will become involved in settlement only if counsel believes it to be beneficial. If I schedule a PT, it is for the purpose of avoiding delay on the day of trial, so try to anticipate as many potential trial issues as you can to dispose of at the PT. Clients and claim representatives need not be present, unless the parties want the court to become involved in settlement.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: Parties may stipulate to changes so long as they don't impact the trial date. They should confirm the agreement in writing but don't need an amendment to the Rule 16 order.
  • For changes on the date of trial: Must be approved by the court and good cause presented. If any party objects, set for a motion. If all parties agree and there is good cause, the request may be submitted by letter. The sonner it is made, the greater likelihood that the request will be granted.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? Only good cause, such as unforeseen circumstances, illness, family emergency, etc.
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: Time limits - the court will ask counsel to try to stay within a time limit they deem appropriate. The court will limit voir dire to questions related to competence and bias. Counsel should not try to indoctrinate or influence the jury, or ask questions or tell stories to simply curry favor.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? Sit - it keeps you closer to the microphones.
  • 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? 10-30...depends on the issues that need to be addressed
  • I normally start jury trials at: 9:00 a.m.
  • I normally give the jury a break of 10 - 15 minutes in the morning.
  • I normally take a lunch break at: 12:00 noon
  • I normally give the jury a break of 10 - 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: Allow them to do so, but they may want to make further record during a break.
  • Do you place a time limit on final argument? Yes
    If yes, If yes, what is the time limit? I ask counsel to commit to a reasonable amount of time.
  • When do you instruct the jury? Prior to 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? Significant ethics violations, unexcused violation of rules of procedure that impact the other party or the court (additional costs, unreasonable delay, etc.)

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.

Go back to top

Galen Vaa

District Court Judge

Counties: Clay

State Court Bio: View Bio

Motion Practice
  • How long do you normally allow per party for argument of non-dispositive motions? Ten minutes
  • How long do you normally allow per party for oral argument of dispositive motions? Fifteen 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: NA
  • 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? Ideally, about two weeks to a month before the scheduled trial.
  • Do you normally hear motions in limine at the pretrial? No
  • When are jury instructions due? Five days prior before the commencement of the trial
  • When are proposed special verdict forms due? Five days prior before the commencement of the trial
  • When do you require that final witness lists be exchanged and filed? At the final pretrial
  • When do you require that final exhibit lists be exchanged and filed? At the final 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 should be fully prepared to discuss all settlement negotiations that have been entered into up to that date. All parties who have authority to settle the case should be present at the Final Pretrial Conference. Insurance representatives may be present by telephone.
Continuances and Changes in the Scheduling Order
  • For changes in the scheduling order, except date of trial: I am very liberal in allowing continuances to the scheduling order, if counsel can provide me with a reasonably valid reason for making the request. My primary concern is that the case to ultimately resolved on the merits, and not on a technical violations of the rules.
  • For changes on the date of trial: I am somewhat restrictive in allowing changes in a scheduled trial date. Our trial calendar is so congested here in Clay County and continuances create a significant inconvenience to court administration.
  • Under what circumstances would you consider granting a change in the trial date? The unavialability of a key witness, if said unavailability was not caused by the conduct of one of the parties. Also, any unusual complications in pre-trial discovery might be considered as a valid cause for a continuance.
Civil Jury Trials
  • Do you perform preliminary voir dire? Yes
  • Do you place a time limit on voir dire by counsel? No
  • Is there subject matter you will not permit counsel to ask of the jury? Yes
    If yes, please explain: Counsel will not be allowed to use Voir Dire to educate or indoctrinate the jury concerning their theory of the case. Counsel should not ask hypothetical questions to jurors, and ask them how they would rule or find based upon said hypothetical statement of facts. Obviously, counsel will not be allowed to ask jurors questions that tend to cause the jury to be "committed" to a certain verdict, if certain evidence is presented in the case.
  • Do you require counsel to sit or stand during questioning of witnesses? The may remain seated. However, the best attorneys usually elect to stand behind a poduim in questioning witnessses.
  • 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? Fifteen
  • 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 to 1:15 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? Yes
  • If counsel asks to approach to argue a ruling, do you generally: I generally allow this practice.
  • 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 the 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? Yes
Sanctions of Counsel
  • Have you ever sanctioned counsel with imposition of a fine? Yes
    Or jail? No
  • Have you ever held counsel in contempt of court? No
  • Have you ever reported an attorney for unethical behavior? No
  • When, if ever, would you consider issuing sanctions, formal reprimands, holding an attorney in contempt, or reporting an attorney for unethical behavior? Knowingly providing false information to the court. Also, repeated violations of specific rulings made during the trial would result in a reprimand and if serious enough, a finding of contempt.

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.

Go back to top