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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.


Third Judicial District Judges


Williamson, Jodi L.

Assistant Chief Judge

Counties: Olmsted

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.). 507-635-6279
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? Deb Blaisdell, Court Administration 507-635-6261
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Lane Knutson, Court Reporter 507-635-6279

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. Call Court Administration
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. All except defaults
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? Yes, if I am available
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings? Usually 15 minutes unless granted additional time by Court Administration with permission of the Court
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. Permit telephone appearances for default hearings, substative hearings require personal appearance
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. Set for hearing but require settlement efforts prior to scheduled hearing
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. If all attorneys have signed off, then may be administratively signed
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? If both attorneys agree to amend the scheduling order, the Court will sign administratively, if contested then a hearing is required with attorneys present
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. May appear by telephone with permission of the court
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  submit motion consistent with the rules and the court will rule within 24 hours of submission

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.  none known

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. electronic filing through eFS
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. may use computer in the courtroom
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. permitted
  • 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. Settlement conferences are usually held in chambers off the record and then placed on the record with a summary of in-chambers discussions. Attorneys are required to appear and have settlement authority or the person authorized to settle.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. submit at PTC, in known. May be heard at PTC or just prior to trial

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? 9-4:40 with an hour or so for lunch and a break in the morning and break in afternoon
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. Court asks the balance of questions, similar to federal practice. Attorneys may submit questions for Court to ask.
  • 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. Attorneys should abide the rules of decorum. Attorneys should remain seated as that makes a better record and better sound. Witnesses should be addressed formally with Mr. or Mrs. etc.. and first names should not be used.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  no
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. attorneys may use technology. Attorneys should work with Court Reporter and Court Administration if playing a deposition. Court has ITV availability
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. Attorneys should mark own exhibits and share exhibits with opposing counsel prior to trial. Provide exhibit list to opposing counsel and court.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. object and state basis of objection clearly. Do not argue the basis for the objection unless asked by court.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. Attorneys may use whatever method they prefer. I let attorneys try their cases with minimal input from the Court
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? Depends on the complexity and length of trial. If attorneys want a rough draft, as opposed to an official transcript, that is possible. All coordination is through the Court Reporter, Lane Knutson, 507-635-6279
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  The court takes no position

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  I believe that attorneys are in the best position to try their cases. As long as they follow the rules, play nice in the sandbox, they will find my courtroom and staff very accommodating.

Judicial Districts