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.

Seventh Judicial District Judges | Courtroom Preferences

Engelking, Matthew E.


 District Court Judge

Counties: Stearns

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, email, etc.).  E-mail directly to my law clerk or call / email my court reporter.
  •  To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions?  Contact my court administration court clerk.
  •  To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Attorneys may request a telephone conference in writing. Conferences can be scheduled with my court clerk.

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. Counsel are expected to satisfy the "meet and confer" requirement. During that conference, counsel should determine if an informal conference will address the issue(s) of the motion. Counsel should then contact my court clerk to schedule.
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing.  Substantive motions require a hearing. Minor scheduling or discovery disputes may be resolved by an informal, telephonic conference.
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions?  I may do so but counsel would need to seek permission in advance to confirm availability.
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings?  I'll seek input from counsel but routine motions should take no more than 20-30 minutes. More complex motions will be granted additional time upon request. Counsel should be realistic in their requests.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference.  I expect counsel to be physically present for hearings absent prior approval.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions.  See above regarding all motions.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders.  I will review stipulations and typically approve. If there is an issue, I will have my court clerk contact counsel to set a telephonic conference to address concerns.
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order?  I routinely accept scheduling stipulations and incorporate the Stipulation into a Scheduling Order. If counsel seek to amend, I usually requires some explanation for the proposed amendment.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings.  I will accept administrative defaults, provided pleadings support the relief request. At all default hearings, I expect counsel to make his/her record to warrant the relief sought.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions.  I am conservative in granting ex parte relief. Rather, counsel should contact my court clerk to seek an emergency motion hearing date. Typically this can be obtained in a short time-frame.

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 do not want copies of written submissions. If a written submission is filed less than 3 business days prior to a hearing, and decision is needed at the time of the hearing, then counsel may want to provide a courtesy copy. I will be frank about my opportunity to review documents in advance of the hearing.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.  Requests should be in writing.

In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format.  I prefer counsel to sit at counsel table when addressing the Court to assist in securing a better record.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney's use of technology in the courtroom and during trial.  I have no set practice regarding technology but expect counsel to be practiced in the use and set-up of the technology during the hearing. Typically this requires advanced planning and practice in the assigned courtroom – contact my court clerk to make those arrangements.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submissions of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. I do not permit the submission of additional authority or materials after oral argument unless the record remained open for this purpose. Once the hearing is concluded, the case is under advisement upon the record.
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? I will permit bifurcation of oral argument, but only one attorney is typically authorized to address an issue.

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.  During settlement conferences, I require counsel who will try the case to be present and to have settlement authority. I will offer assistance in resolution if it is viable at the conference.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. Counsel are expected to scheduling motions in limine similar to other motions. They should be heard at the Settlement Conference if possible. I prefer 30 days to rule of motions in limine, if possible.
  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? Counsel should arrive by 8:30 a.m. Jurors will typically be brought to the Courtroom at 9:00 a.m. There are usually two 15-minute breaks and a 60-minute lunch break. Court recesses at 4:30 p.m. I will allow juries to deliberate until 4:30 p.m
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures.  I typically ask standard voir dire questions. Counsel should limit follow-up questions to those designed to evaluate a juror's qualifications. If counsel opine a question is improper, opposing counsel should ask to approach and address at a side bar.
  • 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 allow counsel to move within the courtroom provided it is not distracting. Counsel must seek permission to approach witnesses. Use of a podium is permitted for Opening Statements and Closing Arguments. Attorney should sit at all other times. Attorney should address all others in the Courtroom with formality during trial, i.e. Mr. or Ms.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? I do not limit opening statements and closing arguments. I am of the opinion that jurors strongly prefer brevity.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial.  I have no practice/restrictions on technology provided permission to use is sought in advance. Counsel and parties must comply with the District Policy regarding technology.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits.  I require exhibits to be marked in advance and outside the presence of the jury. I permit publishing of exhibits during trial upon request.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. Counsel should stand to make an objection, state the objection and the legal authority, i.e. relevancy, Rule 402. I typically allow opposing counsel to make a brief response to the objection. Any other argument raised will likely result in my calling for a side bar with admonishment to counsel outside the hearing of the jury.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony.  Counsel are expected to comply with the rules.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? I defer to my Court Reporter regarding transcript availability.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. I advise jurors they are under no obligation to speak with counsel following trial, but that counsel may be seeking information in order to improve trial practice.

Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.  I expect all attorneys to be practical problem-solvers who are familiar with the rules of procedure and rules of general practice. I believe attorney are also counselors-at-law and should be providing clients with meaningful recommendations.