In Minnesota, there are nearly 300 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 survey. The responses that we received are organized on the right by judicial district and then alphabetically by 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 Kara Haro, MSBA staff liaison to the Civil Litigation Section.

First Judicial District Judges | Courtroom Preferences

Wentzell, Michael

judicial photoDistrict Court Judge Michael Wentzell

Counties: Carver County

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?  Ana Kaschinske
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Ana Kaschinske

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings.  Contact court administration
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing.  N/A
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions?  No
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings?  No firm time limit- litigants may assume the Court has read all materials.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference.  Personal appearance required except in extraordinary circumstances
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions.  Meaningful personal or telephonic discussion between the attorneys is required before filing a discovery motion 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders.  N/A
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order?  N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings.  N/A
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  Notice must be given to opposing counsel as early as practicable.

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 courtesy copies requested
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  None

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format.  VGA hook ups to large screen TVs and computer connection to audio.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial.  Use of technology is welcomed
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument.  Allowed with notice and an opportunity for opposing counsel to respond
  • 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.  Attorneys must attend and be able to make telephone contact with a client with settlement authority. It is expected that the attorneys will engage in meaningful settlement discussions until impasse and then meet with the Court to provide a status update. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  For cases blocked to me, a hearing date should be obtained in advance of trial to argue non-routine trial issues. Non-complex, routine trial issue motions may be heard on the day of trial


  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day?  Lawyers appear at 8:30, 20 minute mid-morning break, 1 to 1.5 hour lunch, 20 minute afternoon break, conclude at 4:30-5:00
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures.  Court will conduct standard voir dire then allow attorneys to conduct relevant voir dire.
  • 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 may sit or stand while making argument. Please speak slowly and clearly using the court microphone. Please ask for permission to approach the first time. Address witnesses by proper names (i.e. Mr. or Ms.). Testifying witnesses with longstanding relationships may refer to other parties by the name that is familiar (i.e. an ex-spouse may refer to his/her ex-spouse by first name).
  • 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.  I encourage the use of technology at trial
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits.  Consult with opposing counsel to agree to exhibit range (i.e. Plaintiff Ex. 1-50, Defendant Ex. 51-100). Premark exhibits with court clerk to the extent possible. Do not number exhibits with subheaders (i.e. a, b, c). 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections.  State the objection and legal basis but no speaking objections. On the rare occasion that additional information is required to be provided at jury trial please ask for a sidebar conference.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  N/A
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow?  Contact the court reporter
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of  trial.  I prefer that attorneys not contact attorneys following their service.