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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Second Judicial District Judges

Guthmann, John

Chief Judge

Counties: Ramsey

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, e-mail, etc.).  Telephone or email to law clerk
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? Law Clerk
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Law Clerk

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. Contact my scheduling clerk.
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. Motions to correct simple errors in orders
  • 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? Thirty minutes to an hour depending on complexity
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. I generally require in-person appearances but under the certain circumstances a telephone or video conference may be arranged through my law clerk.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. Most discovery motions can be resolved by an informal conference with me.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. If my law clerk is notified that a stipulation and proposed order was file, the order can be issued promptly.
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? Requests to amend a scheduling order must be approved by my scheduling clerk to make sure the timelines agreed to conform with my timeline requirements.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings.  They are scheduled with my scheduling clerk.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  They are scheduled with either my law clerk or scheduling 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.  I require one paper courtesy copy in cases involving multiple parties or when the submissions including affidavits exceed 50 pages.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.   Follow the requirements for non-dispositive motions.

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format.  My courtroom has a projector that permits any party to plug in a computer.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. Parties should come in the week before trial to hook up and test their technology to make sure it works. I also encourage the parties to cooperate on the use of technology to avoid delays.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submission of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. I handle such requests on a case by case basis.
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues?  Yes, if appropriate for the case.

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. Pretrial/settlement conferences are generally scheduled about six weeks before trial. With approval of the parties, an active settlement conference is conducted. Parties and persons with authority must attend. Permission to attend by phone may be granted in some cases but only if there was already a mediation attended by the parties in person.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine.  Following the pretrial/settlement conference, I issue an Order for Trial requiring the filing of all motions in limine within seven days of trial. In complex cases, I will schedule a seperate hearing for motions in limine prior to trial commencement.


  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? 9:00 to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 with mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks that are 15 minutes in length.
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures.   I provide counsel with my general areas of questioning and I question first. I strictly monitor attorney questioning to make sure that questions are limited to juror-qualification issues without crossing the line into prohibited areas of questioning.
  • 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.  In the presence of the jury, attorneys must stand when addressing the court. Attorneys may use a podium. First names may not be used in the presence of the jury with parties, attorneys, or witnesses. Exhibits may not be referrenced until they have been marked, foundation is laid, and they have been offered and received into evidence.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments?  It has not been necessary to date.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. See above.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. Counsel must arrange for the handling of exhibits with my court reporter. If there are more than 25 exhibits, numbered copies must be provided in three-ring notebooks for all counsel and the court.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections.  Counsel must stand when making objections. State only the legal basis for the objection and arguments over objections or the court's ruling on objections in front of the jury are prohibited.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  Depositions must be used properly. Identify the deposition and provide the witness with a copy. Read the questions and answers at issue to the witness. The only question to the witness should be whether the attorney accurately read the passage.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? Yes. Make arrangements with my court reporter at least two weeks before trial.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial.  I advise jurors that the attorneys may contact them and I inform jurors of their right to respectfully decline.

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  Be kind and courteous to each other.