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

Moehrle, Laura

District Court Judge

Stearns County

View state court bio

Contact with Chambers 

• Preferred method to contact chambers: Email.

• To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions?  Scheduling Clerk, Kelly Pfennig

• To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions? Law Clerk


Motion Practice 

• Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. Attorneys should contact my scheduling clerk to obtain a hearing date. Notice of Motion and Motions must be filed in accordance with Rules or Scheduling Order.

• Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? No. Parties should make a record and request a Rule 115 conference.

• How much time do you allot for motion hearings? Case by case determination. Standard motions, typically 30 minutes. Complex motions scheduled as issues require.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. Remote appearances are routinely granted provided a request is made sufficiently in advance of the hearing, unless the needs of the case are best served by an in person hearing.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. Parties must have attempted to resolve discovery issues prior to filing a motion. Follow Rules of Practice.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. Stipulations are typically honored and encouraged, unless stipulation infringes on public nature of court proceedings, in which case stipulations will be carefully considered and granted only to the extent the law allows.

• Do you have any particular requests or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? Amendments to the scheduling order may be made by written agreement of the parties without the involvement of the court provided the amendment does not affect the court's Pre-Trial or Trial date.

• If your preferences for motion hearings by remote means differ from any of your earlier answers, please describe your preferences for remote video conference hearings. Stable internet connection, use a headset.

• 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. No.

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. I do not accept submissions after oral argument unless expressly authorized at the oral argument or an authoritative appellate decision is issued between the time of argument and the written order.

• 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. In civil cases, attorneys trying the case must appear at the pretrial conference. Clients and persons with settlement authority are not required to attend but must be available by phone. In family cases, the presence of the clients is strongly preferred.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. Strongly encourage attorneys to test all technology in the courtroom prior to trial. I am very reluctant to and discourage keeping a jury waiting or pausing trial to allow counsel to navigate technology issues.

• Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? Yes, particularly where a new/young attorney is being given an opportunity to argue a case.

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. Deadlines for motions in limine are set forth in my scheduling orders and are heard and decided in advance of trial.

• What is your schedule for a typical trial day? Attorneys arrive at 8:30, jury arrives at 9:00. Recess for Lunch from 12pm - 1:30pm and take a mid morning and mid afternoon recess (15 minutes). Typically adjourn at 4:30 unless needs of trial require to stay late.

• Set forth your voir dire procedures. Court asks only limited, basic voir dire. Remainder of voir dire conducted by counsel.

• 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. Counsel typically uses podium for voir dire, opening, and closing. Direct and cross examination may be done from counsel table and counsel may sit or stand based on their preference. Attorneys should ask to approach the witness, and witnesses (other than children) should be addressed by Mr. / Ms. All participants stand when the jury enters or exits the courtroom.

• Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? No.

• Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. Attorney laptops able to display to courtroom monitors.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom. Test prior to using. Not inclined to keep jury waiting or recess to resolve untested technology issues.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. Exhibits should be pre-marked if possible. Participating in MNDES pilot jury project so in future may be requested to use MNDES for presenting exhibits and for jury deliberations.

• For exhibits uploaded to the Minnesota Digital Exhibit System (MNDES), set forth your preferences regarding naming conventions for files uploaded to the system. Basic naming that would allow clerk / court to identify what the exhibit is.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling objections. State short basis for objection (Rule or grounds). All argument regarding objections done at a bench conference and placed on the record at next available recess.

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

• May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? No.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. Attorneys are free to contact jurors following trial. Court also provides surveys to jurors and counsel are free to see copies of surveys related to their cases.

• Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful. Be prepared and be professional. I do not tolerate personal attacks or discourteous behavior toward against opposing counsel or court staff.