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.

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Fourth Judicial District Judges


Janisch, Karen

judicial photoDistrict Court Judge

Counties: Hennepin

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.).  For scheduling matters or issues not requiring a judicial decision, contact the Court's law clerks by telephone or email. Substantive issues that request a judicial decision need to be addressed through all party telephone conference or by motion. 
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions?  To my law clerks
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Any substantive issues requiring a judicial decision need to be brought through an informal telephone conference or motion or through a formal motion. 

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings.  Telephone conference before any discovery motions. For formal motion, obtain date from clerks. Communicate date right away with other parties so all issues can be heard on that day. 
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing.  Those which do not require a hearing by rule or statute.
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions?  Yes. Subject to the Court's availability at the time of the call. I do not leave hearings or trials for discovery calls.
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings?  30 minutes unless a longer period is specifically granted for multiple motions or unusually complex issues. During trial days, additional time may not be available.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference.  A party seeking an appearance by telephone must make a written request to attend by phone, copied to the other side.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions.  Refer to scheduling order. The Court typically requires that the parties schedule a telephone conference to discuss issues with the Court prior to bringing a contested motion. if unresolved contested motion can be scheduled for telephone or court.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders.  File the stipulation, send copy to chambers (although see for scheduling orders, below). The Court will review. The Court typically issues a more detailed directive regarding filings under a protective order. 
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order?  Read your scheduling order. Stipulations not allowed. Set up telephone conference. Be prepared to address enlargement of time under Rule 6.02.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings.  If matter is assigned to judge, there was a reason administrative default was not entered. Court will probably require motion. Default requires establishing by specific pleadings or affidavit entitlement to relief for the claims and damages sought.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  Unless grounds for ex parte relief is established, contact the Court's clerk to discuss obtaining hearing date. Court will want to discuss scheduling with other parties, if possible. Court will schedule with goal of obtaining response from other parties. 

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. If the total filing from a party exceeds 50 pages, the Court requires delivery of one courtesy copy to chambers. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts. The parties may agree to modify their timelines for filings related to dispositive and non-dispositive motions. File correspondence with the Court informing the Court of the Agreement. Otherwise, the Court requires compliance with the General Rules unless the Court allows deviation by court order.

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. Our word processing system is WORD. Upon filing, submit to chambers by email a WORD version for proposed jury instructions and proposed orders. In the courtroom, parties should bring any technology the intend on using.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. Parties need to bring any technology they intend to use during a trial. Confer with opposing counsel to see if use can be coordinated between the parties which greatly improves efficiency. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. All substantive legal arguments should be asserted in the memoranda filed BEFORE the hearing. Additional authority can be submitted only if requested by the Court or if the case was issued after filings were due.
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? Yes. Identify who is arguing which portions.

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 Court issues a pretrial order. Typically a pretrial conference is held a little more than 2 weeks before the start of the trial block. Settlement is discussed along with expectations for trial preparation. I will participate in settlement conferences with parties to jury trials. If the matter is set for a court trial, the court may request detailed settlement discussions occur with a judge who will not be the ultimate finder of fact. 
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. The pretrial order identifies certain motions regarding experts to be brought at the pretrial conference. Anticipated motions are discussed at the pretrial and set to be heard either on the first day of trial or another date as scheduled by the Court.

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? Trial starts at 9:00 am unless the Court has another motion, then it may begin at 9:30. Afternoon begins at 1:00 or 1:30 depending on other hearings and lunch meetings. Trial goes until 4:30-5:00pm.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. The Court discusses voir dire during the pretrial conference. The Court will identify to the parties the questions I intend to ask the panel and consider additional case specific questions as discussed with counsel for the parties. Counsel are informed that voir dire needs to be questions directed to jurors related to their background and experiences. Statements about what the evidence will be in the case are not permitted. Questions seeking commitment by jurors to issues in the case are not permitted.
  • 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. The podium may be used for voir dire, opening statements, closing arguments. Otherwise, the Court prefers for motion practice that parties present from counsel table. Counsel are informed they may stand or sit. At trial, counsel should ask questions from a seated position and remain at counsel table unless permission to approach the witness, screen etc is granted. Counsel should return to counsel table when proximity to the witness or item is no longer necessary.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? Not typically.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. Parties need to supply their own technology. if screens are used to project documents, consult with opposing counsel to see if shared use is appropriate. Shared use is more efficient and makes attorneys look good to the jurors.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. This is addressed in the Court's trial order.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. Objection and the legal basis for the objection should be stated. The Court may request the parties approach if further argument is warranted. If a party disagrees during trial with a ruling, the party may make a formal record of the basis for the disagreement at the next opportunity where the jury is not present. Any party may request to make an offer or proof or to voir dire a witness. Raise the issue at the earliest opportunity so that the process can be done at a natural time when jurors are on break.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. Follow the rules regarding impeachment by prior testimony. Show the provision to opposing counsel, before the witness so that objections as to completeness can be addressed. If a deposition portion is read in trial. The original should be given to the Court. I will mark it as a court exhibit for the record. 
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? Not usually. If sought, this should be raised before trial to determine if a court reporter with this capability is available. Attorneys need to make arrangements for transcripts with the court reporter.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. I inform jurors after the trial they are free to discuss or not discuss the case with anyone. It is up to them. The Court typically does not provide contact information for jurors. 

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful. Parties are expected to read and comply with the procedures outlined in the Court's scheduling, trial and pretrial orders.