MN Wild


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

Miller, Laurie

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
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? either of my law clerks
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions? either of my law clerks

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. You may obtain a hearing date from my clerks by calling chambers. I generally hear motions at 9:00 and 1:30 a.m., five days a week, although other times are possible. 
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. If all parties agree a hearing is not necessary, and that a matter may be submitted based upon the briefs, I may not require a hearing.
  • 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? I do not have hard and fast time limits, but generally anticipate 15 minutes per side in non-dispositive motions and 30 minutes per side in dispositive motions
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. I will allow this, upon request.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. I do not allow a discovery motion to be filed until the parties first meet and confer, as required by the rules, and then have an informal telephone conference with me, to try to work out the dispute without the need for a formal motion hearing. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. I review stipulations for protective orders, to ensure that the provisions are reasonable for the Court to accept. I will not usually signed a protective order that places unwarranted burdens upon court staff, such as requiring documents to be "sealed"
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? When parties stipulate to change the Court's scheduling order, I will generally sign off on it, unless it alters either the dispositive motion cutoff or the trial date, in which case I will set a scheduling conference to address the proposed changes. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. I expect compliance with the rules, which generally require proof (by affidavit or testimony) of the facts entitling the moving party to the claimed relief.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions. Call my clerks, and they will assist with scheduling a prompt hearing. I rarely hear anything on an ex parte basis. Any request for ex parte consideration must be fully supported as required by Rule 65.01. If not, notice must be given to the other side.

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. For any motions with voluminous briefs, affidavits, and/or exhibits, I appreciate receiving paper courtesy copies. One copy is sufficient for my purposes.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts. My view is that the Rules are our friends, and I am reluctant to deviate from them. If parties can agree, however, to alter the length of a briefing schedule, for example, I will usually honor such an agreement.

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. No preference. You are welcome to use whatever technology you are comfortable with.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. During trial, I prefer if both sides coordinate their efforts and make use of the same technology. It can be inefficient and distracting to continually switch from one technology to another, depending upon which lawyer is asking questions of a witness.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. On occasion, I will permit parties to make post-hearing submissions, on particular defined topics. I do not, however, welcome unsolicited post-hearing submissions.
  • 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. I require parties to mediate before trial (except in medical malpractice cases, where the law does not permit such a requirement). If the mediation is unsuccessful, and the parties wish to discuss settlement at a pretrial conference, I will try to help with settlement, if all parties agree to my involvement. I am reluctant to do so in cases set for a court trial, however, where I will ultimately be the finder of fact.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. In uncomplicated cases with minimal motions in limine, I will hear and decide them on the morning of trial. For more complicated cases with many motions in limine, I prefer to hear them at a pretrial conference, at least a week or two before trial.


  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? I tell the jury their schedule will be from 9:00 to 4:30, with a morning recess, a lunch break, and an afternoon recess. I will often ask counsel to come early or stay late, to address any legal issues off the jury's clock.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. I will share with counsel the questions I plan to ask of the jurors, before voir dire begins. After my questioning is complete, I allow the lawyers to inquire. I seat enough jurors to have the requisite six jurors, plus one or more extras, depending upon the trial length, and the number needed for peremptory strikes. For a typical 2-3 day trial, this will be eleven people. (6 + 1 extra + 2 preemptories for each side). I expect challenges for cause to be made at the bench, outside the hearing of the jury. If needed, a record can be made later, outside the presence of the jury.
  • 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. Counsel should request permission to approach the bench or the witness. Counsel may use a podium if they wish for openings or closings. Counsel should remain seated at counsel table while conducting voir dire or examining witnesses. Witnesses should be addressed by their last names, not their first names.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? In appropriate cases, yes.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. What I hope for is that both sides make use of the same technology, to improve efficiency and to minimize awkwardness and inconsistencies that result when competing technologies are used.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. I expect counsel to exchange exhibits before trial, to organize exhibits in a logical manner, to premark all exhibits, and to stipulate to admission of as many exhibits as reasonably possible in advance of trial. I am happy to address issues regarding admissibility either before trial, through a motion in limine, or at the beginning of trial, before voir dire begins, in order to avoid taking up the jurors' time with these types of issues.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. No speaking objections. If a record needs to be made on an objection, it should be done so out of the presence of the jury.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. Counsel should confer to resolve as many objections as possible in advance of trial, and then advise the Court of which objections will need rulings from the Court in advance of trial, in order to avoid needless delay during the trial. It takes time for the Court to review a deposition and rule on objections, and it takes time for videographers to edit a video deposition, after the Court's rulings are made. To do so after trial has begun can be very difficult, without impinging upon the jury's time. 
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? Yes, but it is up to counsel to make the necessary arrangments. The Court Reporting Unit may or may not be able to accommodate such a request, depending upon the length and timing of the trial. Outside court reporters may be brought in, if needed.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. N/A

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful. N/A

Judicial Districts