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

Vasaly, Mary

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.).  No preferred method, although if it is more than a scheduling matter, it should be in writing.
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions?  Clerk 
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Self represented litigants can contact self help center. Represented litigants should discuss such questions with their lawyer.

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings.  The attorney can call my clerk and get a date for the motion, which will be set using the time frames dictated by the General Rules of Practice.
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing.  Unless it involves a minor, if there are waivers filed from all heirs, approval of distribution of a settlement. 
  • 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?  It varies depending on the complexity of the issues. Generally, they are scheduled for 30 minutes.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference.  If a request is made in advance, I will consider allowing attendance through court call.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions.  I required compliance with the rules regarding "meet and confer" and other efforts to resolve. I require a telephone conference (with two page written submissions in advance) to discuss the matter in advance of scheduling a hearing on a discovery motion.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders.  Stipulations are encouraged but if the scheduling proposed does not allow enough time for dispositive motions to be decided, or another such issue, I will require a conference call to discus the proposal. I often have some edits to protective orders.
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order?  See above - unless a case has been pending an inordinately long time, I allow so long as there is sufficient time provided for completion of various pretrial tasks.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. Defaults should be brought pursuant to the dispostive motion deadlines. I prefer notice to the defendant of two weeks, notwithstanding the rule. I require a bond to be posted when the defendant was originally served out of state. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  We schedule them as quickly as possible. I require notice to the opposing party to the extent it is possible, unless circumstances warrant ex parte relief

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.  I require courtesy copies of documents filed with and against dispositive motions, in divided three ring binders. Hard copies are also appreciated with respect to other motions as well if the submissions are lengthy.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  I don't have a particular practice/procedure for this. I consider such requests on a case by case basis.

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format.  We have almost no support for technology. We have a screen, but that is all.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial.  Attorneys have no limits on their use of technology, insofar as the evidence is admissible or otherwise proper.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument.  I discourage and generally do not allow submissions at or after argument, except in exceptional circumstances. 
  • 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 have pretrials approximately 6 weeks before trial and require attendance by the party with settlement authority and the lawyers who will try the case. I generally discourage appearance by phone or video conference. I do encourage and facilitate settlement negotiations at the pretrial, with permission of the parties.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  There is a schedule for submission of the motions and I try to decide them in advance of trial.


  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day?  We usually begin at 9:30 and end at 4:30. We have 90 minutes for lunch and two twenty minute breaks.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures.  I do a thorough voir dire but allow attorneys to do voir dire as well. I do not allow attorneys to "educate" the jury about their theory of the case, or the law.
  • 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.  I am fairly flexible about allowing attorneys to move around in the courtroom, use a podium or sit/stand. I like the attorneys to address witnesses formally.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  I do not. However, when we have limited time, I have asked the attorneys to stipulate to dividing the time equally and then stick to that.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial.  If the attorneys want to use technology they can do so, but have to bring their own equipment.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits.  Exhibits must be exchanged by the parties prior to trial and pre-marked. Any objections should be resolved, if possible, before trial.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections.  I require the objection to be stated succinctly. I discourage bench conferences to provide further argument but find they are necessary from time to time.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  I follow the rule. Attorneys can read the testimony, or use a substitute to read the testimony if it is lengthy.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow?  They should deal directly with the private court reporter to set that up.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  I allow contact but tell jurors that it is voluntary and they may decline to discuss the case with attorneys if they choose.

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  I am usually well prepared before hearings and so I often have many questions. I do hope attorneys understand that this is just a process that helps me understand their positions better. It is not often very helpful for attorneys to recite the facts.

Judicial Districts