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.

Get the ninth district guide for Amazon Kindle here.

Ninth Judicial District Judges

Austad, Jana

judicial photoDistrict Court Judge

Counties: Cass

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? Whitney Kastning; Jaimie Bergerson
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Whitney Kastning; Jaimie Bergerson

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. through Ms. Kastning
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. Most defaults
  • 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? 15 minutes genreally. Attrorneys are free to request longer.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. appearances by telephone are routinely approved
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. conference call. if not resolved standard motion practice
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. none
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? telephone conference or motion
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. can be by telephone if testimony is not needed
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  none

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

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. all
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. verify working order before trial
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. email or by agreement
  • 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 should advise what they think is helpful at the scheduling conference
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  addressed at scheduling conference

Trial:

  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? 9-4:30. 15 min am and pm break. 60-90 minute lunch. Punctual start times
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. attorney directed
  • 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. Do what is effective
  • 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. know how to use it before trial
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. prefer pre marked. know ahead of time how you plan to introduce the exhibit.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. none
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. take back demonstrative copy at end of testimony.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? yes. work with reporter
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  none

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  state objections in recognized forms of few words. Narrative objections are not helpful. If argument is needed ask to make a record.