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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.


Sixth Judicial District Judges


Hylden, Eric L.

District Court Judge

Counties: St. Louis

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.).  Email best, law clerk second, court reporter third, chambers phone fourth
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions?  Email to me, scheduling clerk second, law clerk third
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions? Email to me, law clerk second

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. Call scheduling clerk
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. Rule 115.04(d) informal discovery motion. Also, if in the ELT, dispositive motions may be heard by telephone at the same time as the Case Management Conference
  • 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? Depends on the motion. Attorneys should let the scheduling clerk know their best estimate. Be aware that Telephone Scheduling Conferences are set on 15 minute intervals, and Case Management Conferences on half hour intervals.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. Scheduling conferences and Case Management Conferences are always via teleconference in the Duluth Courthouse. I and Judge Munger do all of the Scheduling Conferences and Case Management Conferences
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. I encourage use of the Rule 115.04(d) informal procedure, as most disputes can get resolved that way. For more complicated issues (ESI, for example), a standard motion is fine. Be prepared to state what's been done to resolve the issue. 
  •  Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. Stipulations are encouraged, especially as they narrow the issues. Any stipulation on scheduling, however, need to be approved by the Court. In general, as long as the trial date is not affected, the Court is likely to approve.
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? Again, stipulations are fine, but need to be approved by the Court. Also, be aware that trial dates for cases in the ELT will not be extended except in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. If your default case is within the ELT, the motion can be heard at the second telephone hearing, in conjunction with the Case Management Conference.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  Attorneys can get on the phone with me (assuming they also conference in opposing counsel) most mornings early. Contact scheduling clerk to set that up.

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 prefer email courtesy copies, sent to my law clerk.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts. Counsel should notify each other, indicate whether their is a stipulation to that effect, and then request exemption from the Court. Most of the time, it's just easiest to read and follow the Rules.

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. I will look at any documents served and filed using the eFS system. No guarantee I will consider things brought into court.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. Computers are fine if they are silent. Phones are fine for scheduling, again, if they are silent. If a party wishes to use a computer sytem to present exhibits at trial, it can't block views of court, counsel or the jury.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. I will let you know if I want it. If so, it will likely be in the form of a letter brief.
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? No.

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. The parties will (usually) be required to do ADR, so the Court does not typically schedule a separate settlement conference. The Court is always available to assist in settlement.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. Handled at the Pretrial.

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? 8:30 to 5:00, with mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks, with an hour for lunch.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. Please see the Minnesota Civil Trialbook, Part H in the General Rules. I will start with some preliminary information about the case, do the jurors know parties, etc., past jury service, a short biographical sketch by each juror, ask the Rule 123 question. Attorneys are not to argue their case, ask for promises, or indoctrinate.
  • 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. Please see the Minnesota Civil Trialbook, Part H in the General Rules of Practice. Attorneys may sit or stand at counsel table to ask questions. Ask permission to approach the witness and then return to counsel table as soon as is reasonably possible. Objections must be by name or number- no talking objections. Sidebar will be granted on those occasions when the objection is to complicated to be stated succinctly. No Exhibit will be placed in the jury's view before it is admitted by the Court. Exhibits must be pre-marked so time is not wasted with that process. Exhibits are to be exchanged with opposing counsel by the time of the Pretrial so there are no 'surprises'. Exhibits as to which there is a genuine evidentiary issue will be brought to the Court's attention at the earliest opportunity. The Court assumes that all (or most) others will have a stipulation between the parties as to foundation.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? Only when counsel have demonstrated during the course of the lawsuit that time limits are necessary.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. See above
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. See above
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. See above
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. Attorneys must read the Rules of Civil Procedure. They should be aware that these are not appreciated by jurors, even when they contain critical information. The parties are to provide the Court with the original transcript, along with a list, by page number and line, of all objections that they seek a ruling on. This is typically much shorter than the list of all objections. The remaining objections may be withdrawn, and will not be read or played to the jury. All video depositions must be edited to remove matters withdrawn by the parties, or ordered stricken by the Court. This suggests an early start.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? I leave this in the discretion of my Court Reporter. If they can manage it, and want to they may. If daily transcripts interfere with the reporter's regular duties, or if they do not wish to, they need not provide them.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. I tell the jurors that they can talk to attorneys if they wish, but they are not required to. I also tell them that the attorneys are not to ask them about their deliberations.

Judicial Districts