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.

Third Judicial District Judges

Duncan, Karen

judicial photoDistrict Court Judge

Counties: Steele

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

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

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings.  Schedule through court administration and timely file motion.
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing.  to amend scheduling order
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions?  if necessary
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings?  depends on what the attorneys request and what the issues are, no one size fits all.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference.  We can't link multiple parties from the courtroom, so one attorney must conference in the other(s) and court staff will connect with that designated attorney.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. Can attempt informal phone conference, otherwise set formal motion hearing.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders.  Such stipulations can be submitted without hearing.
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order?  in writing
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings.  just follow the applicable rules
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  Contact court administration for scheduling.

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.  No.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  Only by agreement of the parties and for good cause specified.

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. I have no way to use a jump drive in the courtroom, and if a party needs to play a computer disk, please notify court admin so the equipment can be brought in.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. See above.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. Prefer to have it ahead of time so I can be prepared. Will grant leave for additional submissions after argument if appropriate.
  • 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.  People needed to make final decisions must be available to the attorneys by phone or electronically, if not in person. I generally ask parties who are at an impasse if there is anything the court can do to assist.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  Can be addressed at the pre trial or the morning of trial, depending on the circumstances.


  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day?  8:30-4:30 with 15 minute breaks in the morning and afternoon, and a one hour 15 minute lunch break.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures.  I seek input from the attorneys, and am flexible.
  • 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. No gum. No one affiliated with the attorney should be fiddling with a phone during trial except as necessary to access materials relevant to the trial. Ask to approach your witness only the first time, and thereafter (if needed) without asking additional permission. Always ask to approach the other sides' witness. All witnesses should be referred to by their surnames as set out in the rules. Use a podium if you want. Stand when addressing the court, sit when questioning witnesses. Don't move around in the well without a need to.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  No. Smart attorneys impose their own limits.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. We have very little available so connect with court admin in advance, and bring up any concerns at the pretrial.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits.  Mark them in advance using the numbers assigned by the court at the pretrial. Don't show the jury any exhibit before it has been received.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. State the one word or phrase to identify the objection, but wait to argue until called to the bench, or until the jury has left the courtroom.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  Just follow the rules, and don't expect the court to provide someone to read it into the record.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow?  No.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  I tell jurors at the end of their service that sometimes attorneys wish to do this as it helps them improve their skills, and I let the jurors know they can answers questions but also can decline to do so.

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  Be on time. Be polite to each other.

Judicial Districts