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Civil Litigation Section

Judges' Courtroom Preferences

In Minnesota, there are currently 293 district court judges who preside over matters in ten judicial districts. While the Minnesota Rules of Court provide attorneys with significant information applicable to court proceedings, each judge may have his or her individual preferences with respect to motion practice and courtroom conduct.

In an effort to assist attorneys who may be appearing before a judge for the first time, the MSBA Civil Litigation Section Governing Council provided all district court judges with a brief questionnaire. The responses that we received are organized here by judicial district and the judge’s name. We hope you find these responses to be helpful in your preparation for district court appearances.

For information about this project or to report an error in any judicial directory listing, contact Jennifer Carter, MSBA staff liaison to the Civil Litigation Section.


Fourth Judicial District Judges


Klein, Joseph R.

District Court Judge

Counties: Hennepin

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.). telephone or email to the clerks
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? law clerks
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions? law clerks

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. Attorneys should call my clerks to obtain a date for a hearing; the parties must meet and confer, and schedule a phone conference with the court prior scheduling any discovery motions
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. N/A
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? yes
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings? Typically, 30 minutes is allotted for motions.  Parties should advise my clerks at the time of scheduling, if a lengthy hearing is anticipated.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. Attorneys should contact my clerks to make the request, which will be considered, depending on the necessity and logistics
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions.  The parties should meet and confer and then conduct a phone conference with the court prior to scheduling discovery motions.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders.  Stipulated protective orders may be submitted to the court without the need for a hearing.  Stipulations to alter deadlines on the Scheduling Order are prohibited, absent the court’s approval.
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order?  Amendments to the scheduling order are granted sparingly. Leave must be obtained from the court for any change.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings.  N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  N/A

Written submissions:

  • Do you want to receive paper courtesy copies of the parties’ written submissions? If you do, set forth the number and preferred format of courtesy copies and identify any document type you do not want to receive.  Yes. One copy for the judge.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  N/A

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format.  No preference.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial.  The parties may use their own technology, and should make arrangements with the court prior to the first day of trial, for set up and other courtroom logistics, such as sight lines, etc.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument.  Upon request from the court.
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues?  Yes.

Pretrial procedures:

  • Describe your preferred procedures for pretrial settlement conferences, including the timing of such conferences, persons who must attend, whether persons may attend by telephone or video conference, and how you participate in settlement discussions.  Unless otherwise specified, the person with full authority to settle the claim (specifically including insurance adjusters) shall attend pretrial settlement conferences in person. If a settlement conference has not been set, but the parties wish to avail themselves of the opportunity, they may call the clerk to schedule such a conference.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  The parties shall follow the procedures set forth in the court's Trial Order. The overarching intent is that the court must receive written motions in liminie prior to the date of the final pretrial, with an eye toward making rulings on all motions prior to the commencement of trial.

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day?  9-12 and 1:30-4:30, with a 20 minute break during each session.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures.  The court begins with an array of standard questions, before passing the panel to the attorneys. At the final pretrial, the court will discuss with the parties the need for any specific questions to be asked by the court, and whether voir dire may be conducted from the podium or counsel table.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to courtroom decorum, including movement in the courtroom, use of a podium, whether attorneys should sit or stand, and how to address witnesses.  Do not refer to witnesses or parties by their first names. Always ask permission to leave counsel table for any reason (to approach a witness, the bench, the exhibit book, the elmo, etc.). Openings and closings are to be given from the podium and the parties should inquire of the court, before trial, as to how close they may approach the jury box (which depends on the courtroom configuration). Attorneys should normally stand when addressing the court, unless permission is given to remain seated.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  Not normally.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial.  The parties are free to use their own technology, but should make advance preparations for its set up and logistics.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits.  All exhibits must be pre-marked. As much as possible, the parties shall stipulate to the use of exhibits (including issues of admissibility, redaction, etc.). Once an exhibit is admitted, the parties should ask for permission to publish.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections.  Only one attorney for each side may object (in the case of multiple attorneys), no speaking objections will be permitted. Rise, state the objection, the grounds for the objection, and sit down. I will invite argument, outside the hearing of the jury, if I wish to hear argument.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  Understand and observe the rules on how to impeach a witness with his or her prior deposition testimony. With respect to expert testimony by deposition, the parties shall meet and confer in advance of the trial date to discuss any objections.  Where possible, they should narrow the number of objections on which the court will need to rule, so that such rulings can be made during trial.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow?  Requests for daily transcipts should be directed to the court reporter, at whose discretion this request will be considered.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  This is permitted, unless a juror specifically requests not to be contacted.

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  If you have any questions at all about courtroom decorum, the court's preferences, please discuss this at the final pretrial conference.

Judicial Districts