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 Kara Haro, MSBA staff liaison to the Civil Litigation Section.

Want to download a PDF for your district?  
MSBA Members: visit practicelaw
Non-Member: subscribe to practicelaw

Want a print copy? Order on Amazon here and here.
Get your fourth district guide for Amazon Kindle here.

Fourth Judicial District Judges


Fraser, Thomas

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.). email to law clerks
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? law clerks
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions? start with law clerks

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings.  Contact law clerk for hearing date - for nondispositive motions, judge will usually convene a phone conference before giving a date and will require a meet-and-confer beforehand
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing.  Parties may suggest no need for oral hearing
  • 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?  30-60 minutes
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference.  Willing to allow -- ask law clerk
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions.  Virtually all resolved by phone call preceded by a meet-and-confer and possibly emails or letters identifying disputes
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders.  They are welcome. 
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order?  Most dates can be changed by agreement as long as they don't jeopardize the trial date; good cause required to change the trial date (unless parties want to advance it)
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings.  Notice of default motion must be given to other parties even if they have not appeared
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  Flexible -- contact law clerk

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.  Courtesy copy preferred only if brief or exhibits are lengthy. Please copy double-sided. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  Contact law clerk with request -- often resolved on letter submissions or by phone call. 

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format.  No preference.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial.  No restrictions
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument.  No ambushes allowed; will receive important authority at or after but will allow other side 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.  Pretrials not held as a matter of course but will be set if requested or if case is complex; some pretrials can be done by phone; if parties have mediated, judge will not spend time on settlement unless parties request it; then, parties with authority must attend or be available for mediation-style discussions. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  Written motions and responses required in advance of trial and usually resolved at pretrial or before trial without oral hearing, unless judge requests hearing 

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day?  9-4:30 or 5; 20-minute break a.m. and p.m.; 12:30 lunch break for an hour 
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures.  Judge does preliminary voir dire and will ask any sensitive questions requested; judge will intervene if lawyers start trying their case during voir dire; lawyers may sit at table or stand at podium during voir dire. We generally have jurors use a portable microphone.
  • 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.  Lawyers need to be at a microphone when speaking; need not ask to approach witness unless reason not obvious; lawyers may sit at table or use podium for voir dire, opening/closing, and examinations. No special rules for addressing witnesses except to avoid undue familiarity. 
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  Not in most cases.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial.  No restrictions. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits.  In most cases, especially where exhibits are numerous, judge often receives exhibits into evidence at beginning of trial after ruling on objections. Lawyers should pre-mark all exhibits to save time. Lawyers may call court's/jury's attention to certain parts of exhibits, but should not use witness as mere "reader" of exhibits. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections.  Lawyers need not stand to object; objections should be short - no argument/details unless requested.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  May be introduced by reading or video; lawyers should endeavor to condense depos because jurors get bored with them. 
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow?  Yes, if advance arrangements made with court reporter because it affects staffing. Contact law clerk with such requests. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  No restrictions generally. 

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  Judge usually gives substantive instructions before closings; instructions on how to deliberate after closings. Each juror receives copy of instructions before they are read. Bench conferences generally not recorded; record made during breaks. Expert reports must be provided to court in advance so that court is prepared to rule on "beyond-the-scope" objections.