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.

Fourth Judicial District Judges | Courtroom Preferences

Robiner, Susan


Hennepin County

View state court bio

Contact with Chambers 

• Preferred method to contact chambers: No preference.

• To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? My clerks.

• To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions? My clerks.


Motion Practice 

• Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. All motions are scheduled through my clerks. If you want an in-person motion hearing and the presumption is remote, you should raise this with my clerks at the time of scheduling.

• Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. A joint stipulated motion.

• Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? Yes, and this is addressed in my scheduling order.

• How much time do you allot for motion hearings? Typically, one hour unless it is uncontested.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. For ZOOM hearings, I expect the same formality and decorum as in-person hearings.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. They are handled like other motions except that I require that there be a teleconference with the Court before hearing such a motion.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. I am fine with their being submitted for signature. If I have an issue with them, I will arrange a teleconference with counsel to discuss.

• Do you have any particular requests or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? Please discuss with opposing counsel first, and then arrange a teleconference with the Court before sending a stipulation.

• Do you want to receive paper courtesy copies of the parties' written submissions? If you do, set forth the number of courtesy copies and identify any document type you do not want to receive. This question is addressed in my scheduling order. I do require courtesy copies of larger submissions.

Pre-Trial Procedures 

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submissions of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral arguments. Ask permission. I may or may not accept such submissions.

• 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. I do not routinely conduct such conferences. But I will readily hold such a conference if the parties request. If so, they are in person and require persons with full settlement authority, unless I have excused in person attendance.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. I am open to it.

• Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? Yes.

In-Person Trials 

• Are you willing to provide a date certain for trial? Yes.

• Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. If they are few in number, then I address them the 1 day of trial; otherwise, parties should call and we can work out a briefing and hearing schedule for these motions.

• What is your schedule for a typical trial day? Parties should be prepared to begin at 9 am; there is a 1.5 hour noon recess; the day ends at 4:30 pm unless we are in the midst of something. There are morning and afternoon breaks.

• Set forth your voir dire procedures. I will conduct brief voir dire that focuses primarily on hardship and conflicts and any questions that counsel and I have agreed should be asked by the Court. Then, the parties conduct 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. I generally believe in erring in the direction of formality. I expect the highest level of formality in the presence of a jury. I also expect a high level of formality during a court trial or any hearing where live testimony is taken. During motion practice, I expect complete civility and decorum but perhaps a less formal, more collegial tone. Lawyers should ask permission to approach a witness or the bench or the podium. If they intend to use the podium or a demonstrative repeatedly, they should so indicate so they do not have to ask every time.

• Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? Not usually, but I will in large cases that have to be heard within a confined time allotment.

• Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. This is too dynamic to identify.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom. I am open to technology but advise that counsel work together to share where possible and make sure the technology is tested and works smoothly.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling objections. Stand and state your objection succinctly. No speaking objections. If I need more explanation I will ask for it.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. I follow the rules of civil procedure and evidence.

• May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? This is a matter discussed with the court reporters. I play no role.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. They may do so and I tell the jurors that at the conclusion of the trial to normalize it.

• Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful. Be prepared, focus on the big picture, and have fun!

• If your practice differs for trials by remote means, please describe the differences. I would not conduct a trial remotely unless there were extraordinary reasons to do so.